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Posted: February 18, 2020

Illegal protests, the silver lining

Letter to the Editor

It is impossible to watch the news of the pipeline protests without forming a strong opinion.

Many of us are asking; “Who is running this country?” and “Why isn’t our government enforcing the law?” Perhaps better questions are “Why is Canada so intent on shipping our raw resources?” and “Is shipping LNG the best thing for our kids?”

Perhaps the silver lining to these protests is that it gives us time to reconsider whether it would be better to invest in manufacturing facilities that could make use of the natural gas here and keep the jobs in Canada.

Natural gas is used for far more than heating. Most importantly it is the key component in the synthesis of ammonia. Synthetic ammonia is produced through the Haber Bosch process which uses electrolysis to convert natural gas (CH4) into urea (NH3). This can be converted into ammonium nitrate, nitric acid and nitrate. These products can be used for fertilizer, refrigerants, industrial chemicals and explosives. Much of this product is consumed right here in our local mines to create ammonium-nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) explosive.

Most of the Nitrogen production facilities in Western North America and all of Canada’s production facilities are in their declining years, and some such as the Carseland, Alberta facility, are near their end of life. We are already importing the urea we depend on for agriculture from China since the Canadian suppliers are not able to meet our domestic demand.

So why are we spending millions of dollars on LNG facilities and pipelines when we have an unfilled domestic market for the finished product? Why is the government so intent on shipping our resources to Asia rather than producing a critical commodity here instead? Does locking our country into natural gas export agreements which will give foreign interests, primarily China, control of our most important agricultural macronutrient and essentially relinquish control of our food security, benefit Canadians in the long run?

We have the infrastructure right here in the Kootenays to produce this product; natural gas, electricity, water, an east west rail line and a cross border rail line. Why not build the manufacturing facilities here to create construction jobs, operating jobs, transportation jobs and provide national food security?

Aden Stewart,

Wycliffe/Cranbrook


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