Greenpeace is running rampant across Alberta’s oil sands. In the past few weeks, 37 activists have been arrested in a spate of incidents targeting North America’s most important energy resource.
The most recent occurred on Oct. 5 when 19 activists stormed an upgrader in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. They tied themselves to equipment which is used to transform heavy oil into gasoline.
The protesters unfurled banners reading “Climate Crime” and “Climate SOS” to draw attention to an industry they say is killing the planet.
In September, two-dozen Greenpeace commandoes kayaked down the Athabasca River to intercept a Suncor bridge where conveyor belts move bitumen into an oil sands upgrader.
But my favorite is the protestors that drove a convoy of pickup trucks into the heart of Shell Oil’s massive open pit mine, halting production.
They came from Edmonton to Fort McMurray, Alberta, a 360-mile round trip. The irony of burning all that gasoline to shut down a facility that helps to provide affordable gasoline was apparently lost on them.
Greenpeace says that it is putting a spotlight on the “climate crimes of the tar sands.”
Meanwhile, trouble is also brewing west of the oil sands in the Peace River region, an area that encompasses the Alberta and British Columbia border. It is here that an eco-terrorist is on the loose. His target is EnCana Corp (NYSE: ECA), which is working the vast unconventional pools of sour gas that lay a mile beneath the countryside.
In the past year he has blown up six sour gas pipelines. EnCana is a preeminent natural gas company in North America. Yet the company is so afraid that the bomber is going to kill himself or somebody else they have posted an Osama bin Laden-like bounty of $1 million for information leading to a conviction. The newspapers are calling it the largest reward in Canadian history.
In a letter to the Dawson Creek Daily News the bomber wrote: “Return the land to what it was before you came every last bit of it… before things get a lot worse for you and your terrorist pals in the oil and gas business.”
The badly handwritten letter sent July 15 insists EnCana cease operations in the area. The bomber also promised to suspend attacks during a three-month grace period so “we can all take a summer vacation.”
All considered the oil patch is lucky to have a lazy terrorist on its hands.
From Elephant Fields to Real Elephants
I can already picture the hate mail, “Myers, not everyone concerned about the environment is a protestor or a bomber!”
True, but a lot of Greens just don’t get it. Let me give you an example.
In the early 90s I went to South Africa to report on the gold mines. There, my Uncle Richard and I joined a tour group. Our guide was an English conservationist.
He told our table how the South African government sold elephant hunting licenses for $20,000 a pop. Traveling with game wardens, hunters gladly paid this fee to stalk single bull elephants.
This, said our tour guide, allowed the South African government to cull the herds, thus preventing mass starvation of the animals. All of the funds were put back into the game parks allowing for their future expansion and the eventual growth of the elephant population.
For one woman in our group, this was too much. Right there in a Johannesburg restaurant she came unhinged. “You sell elephant lives for money!”
Sometimes I can’t help myself and this was one of those times.
I turned to my uncle and said, “What do you think Richard?”
I then explained that in 1957 my father Vern and my Uncle Richard had gone on safari and had in fact bagged an elephant.
I went on to defend Richard with the truth—saying that, in fact, elephants have always been endangered by poachers, not hunters; that licensed hunting had in fact created a windfall for conservation throughout southern Africa.
But there was no convincing the lady from Toronto. Once she knew that Richard had killed an elephant he might as well have murdered a baby. She told him that in her book, killing an elephant was worse than killing a person.
I knew then and there that some environmentalists were downright crazy.
Any lingering doubts were erased by a 1990s PBS program called, Can the Elephants be Saved? It should have been titled, Are the Environmentalists Crazy?
The program NOVA focused on Zimbabwe’s wildlife management, one of the most effective on the continent. In the decades leading up to the 1990s the nation’s elephant herd had doubled to more than 60,000 animals, twice what the Parks Department considered the optimum size for the country. Where there were just 3,000 elephants in the Hwange National Park in 1930, there were more than 20,000 by 1990.
To prevent the Park’s destruction and the mass starvation of thousands of elephants, Zimbabwe game officials would accompany high stake hunters who culled a limited number of elephants with high caliber rifles at short distances. For the Park Service it was a matter of the greater good since elephants could not be moved safely to other game parks.
Every elephant culled was immediately skinned and butchered. A full grown elephant can provide 2,000 pounds of prime meat. Dried, this lifesaving resource remains edible for up to one year and helps sustain some poor black tribes on the fringes of the game parks.
This utilization of elephants not only preserved the park but also the long-term existence of elephants and other game. It also contributed millions of dollars to the Zimbabwe economy—money that was used to expand the national parks, build needed infrastructure and improve the standard of living for the Zimbabwe people.
All for the good, correct? Not according to Cynthia Moss, then and still the head of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya.
Moss told NOVA that shooting just one elephant, for whatever reason, is fundamentally wrong.
“I don’t call that conservation. I would rather see no elephants than elephants being culled, and that’s an extreme position I’ve come to hold, just because I think it is morally unjustified to kill elephants,” Moss said.
If that’s not an ideologue what is? I can picture Hitler slamming his fist upon a desk and declaring: “If Germany can’t win the war, it doesn’t deserve to survive!”
In case you think Moss’ outlook has evolved, guess again. In fact you can visit her Website at: http://www.elephant.se/cynthia_moss.php. There, she is asked who had the biggest influence on her life. Her answer: Echo.
If you want to know who Echo is you can see her picture at: http://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=51.
The Hard Truth about Crude Oil
Greenpeace demonstrates that when it comes to the environment, it’s not just individuals that are off kilter.
Then there is the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Earlier this year the EDF proclaimed: “For about a dime a day (per person), we can solve climate change, invest in a clean energy future, and save billions in imported oil.”
Newsweek, no friend to conservatives, had this response in its April 27, 2009, issue: “(If what the EDF says) sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is.”
Newsweek points out that four-fifths of the world’s and America’s energy comes from fossil fuels—oil, coal, natural gas—which are also the largest source of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas.
This is a fundamental fact that isn’t going to change for generations, regardless of how many people chain themselves to oil sands sites or blow up pipelines.
Moreover, Alberta’s oil sands will remain the key to meeting America’s growing thirst for oil. Canada already supplies the U.S. with 22 percent of its petroleum, the bulk of which comes from Alberta’s oil sands. That share will climb significantly over the next 20 years as oil sands operations expand, Greenpeace be damned.
Yours for real wealth and good health,
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report