The Benefits of Oil “Spills”

Kinder Morgan says oil spills can be good for the economy*

Action Plan

Photo: dvids. Used under a Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 licence.

Kinder Morgan has managed to find a silver lining in oil slicks: they could create jobs.

That’s according to a 15,000 page application Kinder Morgan has submitted to the National Energy Board for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (a document so large that it “stands over two metres tall and fills 37 binders”).

In a section of the application dedicated to the risks and effects associated with oil tanker traffic and the possibility of oil spills, Kinder Morgan finds that “spills can have both positive and negative effects.” In particular, “spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers.”

While it is true that a massive oil spill in the Strait of Georgia likely would create a demand for “clean-up service providers,” an oil company leading off their analysis of the socioeconomic effects of oil spills by pointing to all the jobs that would be created is as absurd as leading off an analysis of the effects of a recession by pointing out it will lead to a boom in demand for repossession service providers.

The report goes on to list a dozen negative effects of oil tanker spills, notably the devastation of fishing stocks, tourist industries, widespread property damage, cultural heritage sites, the “traditional lifestyles” of aboriginal communities and, of course, a significant impact on human health. But far as the economy is concerned, Kinder Morgan wants you to know an oil spill also has a positive side.

Since the filing of this application in December, the NEB has rejected 27 climate experts from delivering testimony and quietly dropped oral hearings from the Trans Mountain pipeline review, reducing the approval process to a “mere paperwork exercise.” 

* originally published at:


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