Corrosion matters Editor: Smithers, B.C. Editor: Smithers, B.C.

The Canadian press has been strangely silent about the last Trans-Alaska pipeline spill last Saturday Jan 8, 2011 which cut the Prudhoe Bay oil production by 95% and raised the price oil to more than $90 a barrel. The Trans-Alaska pipeline is owned by Alyeska, a consortium of oil companies with BP as the majority shareholder.

The Canadian press has been strangely silent about the last Trans-Alaska pipeline spill last Saturday Jan 8, 2011 which cut the Prudhoe Bay oil production by 95% and raised the price oil to more than $90 a barrel. The Trans-Alaska pipeline is owned by Alyeska, a consortium of oil companies with BP as the majority shareholder.

While Alyeska prides itself of a 98.57% reliability rate on its website, what this actually means is a cascade of significant spills and leaks topped by the catastrophic Aug 2006 spill of 260,000 gallons. It was due to corrosion and happened shortly after their Chief executive Bob Malone had stated, at a press conference that the corrosion detection and control program in the 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline system (TAPS) is “world class”. Fines for this massive spill were a meager $20 million. If this was not enough, another mishap happened in May 2010, due to a power outage of both the regular power supply and its back up system.

Now in January, another leak, likely due to corrosion which has been underlying all the spills and leaks, as well as cost saving measures like not manning pump stations and moving engineering staff to cities away from the field.

Does not all of this sound familiar with Enbridge making all the predictable and cheap promises of world-class technology for their proposed pipeline which will inevitably fail? Do we need more Alaska, Gulf disasters to realize that the risks are huge and irreversible?

Josette Wier

Gradually incandescent light bulbs are being phased out. Already they are disappearing rapidly off the shelves in town. Maybe fluorescent bulbs are indeed energy saving. But has anyone considered the health consequences?

There are many adverse side effects from this type of lighting which include migraines, eye strain, nausea, anxiety and sleep disorders to name a few. They deplete the body of vitamin A and have a negative effect on the immune system.

Extensive studies were done on schoolchildren regarding the effects of fluorescent lights compared with those in a control group. With exposure to fluorescent lighting, the incidence of dental cavities increased as did hyperactivity, aggression ,and absences.

Fluorescent lights also emit UV rays. As they contain mercury, their disposal could present an environmental problem.

So perhaps before a hasty ban is imposed on incandescent lighting, more consideration should be given to the adverse health effects that may ensue from the alternative.

Anne Lauderdale