A former oilpatch opinion

In response to Randy McConnell’s letter of Sept. 5, “Oil Patch Kid Speaks.”

Not everyone opposed to the pipeline or aspects of it is a “tree hugger,” support the “greens” or is totally against oil and its benefits.

I worked in Fort McMurray for several years, understanding how important this industry is for our economy, but at the same time I witnessed a lot of negative consequences, both social impacts and environmental.

Any time someone opposed speaks up, a certain aspect of the oil industry responds with comments like: “Did you get to walk to work today?” “Go back to B.C.” or “Join Greenpeace.”

I did in fact take a bus to work every morning.

The social abnormalities witnessed amongst coworkers were appalling, many in a zombie-like state. When you approach the work site, the land is completely destroyed, and no amount of reclamation will ever fix that. The water is black and thick in the tailings ponds, and the smell ... well, I have been told that is the smell of money.

Anyone who has worked up there would agree with this description, but it is all overlooked because they are making the big bucks.

We need oil, lots of it. We also need social and environmental responsibility.

The reality is, defending the oil industry is important to these people. It can force people to bully, lie, and manipulate the facts to protect their livelihoods, while others' are destroyed.

Curtis Scott

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