When Kinder Morgan decided that it wanted to expand its pipeline capacity from Alberta to Vancouver, it had to get approval from the National Energy Board in Canada. So the company did what any self-respecting oil corporation would do when faced with unwelcome regulation: say something so audacious that no one could possibly find fault with your argument. And so, in a statement to the board, Kinder Morgan argued that oil spills actually have a positive effect on the areas that they impact.
Image via Ingrid Taylar
According to the Edmonton Journal, Kinder Morgan said that “Pipeline spills can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies, both in the short and long-term. Spill response and cleanup creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and cleanup service providers.” What a fantastic solution for areas with high unemployment – just spill more oil!
The company went on to helpfully clarify that the overall positivity of an oil spill really depends on the size and extent of the spill and “the associated demand for cleanup services and personnel, the capacity of local and regional businesses to meet this demand, the willingness of local businesses and residents to pursue response opportunities.”
Unsurprisingly, some government representatives weren’t convinced by the logic. “We know Kinder Morgan is using every trick in the book to push this pipeline through our community, but this takes the cake — proposing that a spill would actually be good for the local economy,” said Kennedy Stewart, MP for Burnaby-Douglas. But Kinder Morgan might be on to something. Maybe we should start thanking tornadoes for being such exceptional job creators.