Sawchuk uses misleading numbers when talking tankers

Sawchuk uses misleading numbers when talking tankers

We must ensure that we are discussing the issue on the basis of facts, not misleading statistics.

Sawchuk uses misleading numbers when talking tankers

Re: “Construction construction shutdown ridiculous”, (Citizen, Sept. 14)

Joe Sawchuk, in his letter about the Kinder Morgan expansion, commits two errors when comparing shipping levels in Vancouver before and after the expansion.

First, he gives us current shipping levels in terms of ships per *year* (3,000, a conveniently large number), while he gives us the expected increase in terms of ships per *day* (one, a conveniently small number). Second, he gives the current shipping levels for *all* ships, not just oil tankers, but what we really care about is the increase in tanker traffic. A quick check of the Port of Vancouver website gives us the true picture:

“The Port of Vancouver sees about 30 to 50 crude oil tankers per year, out of a total of about 3,160 vessel calls annually. With the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project approved, this number could increase to about 400 tankers per year, or about 11 per cent of our total vessel traffic.”

In other words, the Kinder Morgan expansion will see crude oil tanker traffic go from 30 to 50 ships a year to 400, an approximate 10-fold increase. This is significant, and we should not be surprised that people are concerned. But regardless of your stance on the pipeline, we must ensure that we are discussing the issue on the basis of facts, not misleading statistics.

Oh, and Victoria does not pump out 130 million *cubic metres* of raw sewage a day — it’s more like 82 million *litres*, which is over 1,000 times less.

Brian Schack

Salt Spring Island