Thursday, January 10, 2013

Privatization of Risk in Canadian Pipeline

Majia here: The idea that we would allow our national heritage - our land and water - to be fracked and mined for export illustrates the privatization of risk in a couple of ways.

First, the profits will be "privatized" as the drillers/producers reap profits raping the land for export. The costs will shift to the public.

Second, the risks will also be "privatized" as the costs shift to the public. The private citizens assuming the risks are not the companies producing them.

The risks will be externalities affecting citizens impacted by the environmental pollution and other hazards posed by the extraction and transmission of oil and gas.

The monetary effects on lives caused by impacted health and disability are incalculable.

The long term environmental impact on future generations cannot be reduced to a formula.

These immeasurable risks stand in contrast to the short term financial gain of the private companies.

The provincial government of BC, citizens, and environmental groups in Canada opposed to an oil pipeline in the province have made precisely this point:

"But the British Columbia provincial government and many residents say they will bear most of the environmental risks, including the threat of oil spills, and reap little reward."

Cited in P. Viera (10 Jan 2013) Canada Pipeline Hits Slippery Patch. The Wall Street Journal, p A11.

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