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Rob should know better

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Rob should know better

Written by Gerry Martin for The Terrace Standard, March 2, 2014

Re: Skeena Angler Rob Brown’s Feb. 12, 2014 column called “Plumbum.”

After a slew of pastoral word pictures of lurking trout, weighted flies and the best angling techniques, fishing columnist Rob Brown concludes his Feb. 12 column by hitting us with a nasty, personal and completely inappropriate curve-ball.

The angler and avid anti-fossil fuel zealot informs us that the leader of the Northern Gateway Pipeline project is “a snake-oil salesperson” who is vicariously responsible for a whole host of ills from Exxon Valdez to leaded gasoline to marine carnage.

There are a number of problems with this poorly-crafted rant:

First, the highly personal claims are utter nonsense. By all accounts, Janet Holder is a smart, capable, respectful British Columbian who feels strongly that if Northern Gateway is to proceed, then it must be built and maintained properly.

Far from being a snake-oil salesperson, my observation is she’s determined to ensure the safety and integrity of the project, and she’s open, approachable and committed to environmental protections. To slur her personally in such a mean-spirited way is nothing short of shameful. Rob really should know better.

Second, Rob must realize an industry isn’t much without its customers. And Rob is a customer. So am I. So is this newspaper and its readership. Does Rob have a right to criticize the oil sector so harshly even though he’s burned his share of gasoline in cars, trucks and outboard motors?

Of course he has that right.

But given he still, after all these years, needs to fuel up his vehicle in order to get himself and his fishing equipment to the river to enjoy a day of bliss, I wonder if he doesn’t feel like he owes us a word or two about practical solutions to weaning ourselves from an industry he deems so repulsive.

Somewhere along the way, the gas in your vehicle went through a pipeline that likely ran under somebody’s yard. We’re all part of it, Rob. Let’s stay positive and find a constructive way toward meeting our need for oil products, our interest in economic strength to support our way of life, and our non-negotiable demand for environmental protection.

We need to work toward a shift to other energy technologies – ones that aren’t only available but affordable to you and me. We need to work toward a shift to other energy technologies – ones that aren’t only available but affordable to you and me. It’s not about personal attacks. It’s about hard work – together.

I support the pipeline because I’m reliant on petroleum products in my daily life, I care greatly about a healthy and diverse BC economy and I believe pipeline technology is the safest way to transport oil over land, and that its safety is improving everyday.

Gerry Martin, Terrace, B.C.

Gerry Martin has been chairman of the Forest Alliance of BC, the BC Progress Board, a member of the Premier’s Technology Council, a governor and chairman of the BC Chamber of Commerce and a director of the University of Northern BC Foundation.

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