The LNG tanker rollover on Sept. 30, very close to Dawson City, should be a wake up call to us all about the inherent dangers of increased LNG tanker traffic on our roads, as proposed by this government.
The increase in LNG tanker traffic will be the result of the installation of LNG generators at Yukon Energy, the proposed use of LNG by the mining industry, the government’s interest in it for home heating, and anything else that the premier has announced so prematurely to the world, about our supposed well-developed LNG industry here in the Yukon.
The 10 or more LNG tanker trucks that would be on our highways, and passing through Whitehorse each day, in order to supply all of these initiatives, would cause our roads and bridges to be stressed to the limit. We, as citizens, would foot the bill for increased maintenance, new bridges, etc. We are already on the hook now, for the cost of reinforcing the shoulders on the road where the Dawson accident happened. Apparently, our roads were not built for trucks of this size.
The statements about LNG being a less expensive fuel source are incorrect, as has been shown by the cost analysis of purchasing the gas, cooling and compressing it, and trucking it up here, still burning diesel all the way. We need to remember that the production of fracked gas, whether it is here or elsewhere, carries a much higher environmental footprint than does the production of conventional gas.
More disconcerting, however, is the huge potential (demonstrated so clearly last week) for a major disaster. We are so fortunate that the rolled over tanker at Dawson did not start spewing methane gas, since there was a power line overhead, another fuel source very close by (the gas station), and a whole community of unsuspecting citizens who were in imminent danger, whether they knew it or not. We also now have the potential for a serious LNG tanker accident in Whitehorse, because of the decision to install LNG generators at Yukon Energy and the resultant tanker traffic within the city, which will be required to supply them.
This safety issue should be of concern for communities from Delta, B.C. to Inuvik, as the LNG tankers will be hauling the potentially lethal gas through each of them, many times a day. We know that accidents happen, and we know that Transport Canada is letting the carriers make their own regulations.
We didn’t wake up to the loss of life in Lac Megantic, and we have had another reminder in Clair, Sask., in the last few days. What is it going to take to wake the people of the Yukon up to this clear and present danger?
Instead of taking these obvious chances with our lives, and costing the Yukon taxpayers millions of dollars in repairs and reinforcement to infrastructure, our government should be investing, now, in renewable energy. Development and maintenance of renewable energy strategies would create long-term and sustainable jobs, and would provide a safe and economically viable future for Yukoners.