EDMONTON – Officials are praising the announcement of the world’s first human pipeline as a big leap forward for industry in Alberta.
“This proposal will allow for the continued growth of this province’s booming industrial sectors by more efficiently delivering the second-most important resource Alberta has: Maritimers,” said Alberta Premier Jim Prentice at a press conference to announce the venture on Tuesday.
The province will work with California-based ETT Pipelines to construct the overground pipeline. Large maps and illustrations were unveiled at the announcement, showing plans to transport under and unemployed Maritimers to job-rich Alberta by tube.
The proposal is borne out of the Evacuated Tube Transport system currently being explored in the United States, which employs airless vacuum tubes to fire human-sized, magnetically balanced capsules through a pipe. The Canadian version would see a second pipe built alongside the Transcanada Energy East pipeline route.
“The route is already there, the science is pretty close perfect and we can build the infrastructure; we’re really excited about getting this started,” said Jason Mumford, ETT’s CEO.
The pipeline would shuttle heavily sedated Maritimers, at speeds of about 6,500 km/h, from Saint John, N.B. to Hardisty, Alta. After arrival, the humans could be delivered to oil and gas sector job-sites around the province. The trip will take about 30 minutes by tube, a significant improvement over air travel.
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant shared Mumford’s sentiment. “Our province has always tried to be on the cutting edge of new technology, be it the Bricklin SV-1 or the Dominion Vote tabulators. I’m excited about the potential this announcement holds for New Brunswick.”
As of press time, human rights experts haven’t had much to say about the proposal.
“It’s hard to know what to say at this point,” said Mike Pilger, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights.
“At first glance being blasted through a pipe the length of Canada doesn’t seem very humane, but neither does being forced into an undersized Air Canada seat between an obese lawyer and a screaming baby on a packed plane for 6 hours.”
East coasters asked about the idea also seemed receptive.
“I mean right now it takes almost a full day to fly home,” said Doaktown, N.B. native Carter Munn, who currently works 9 months of the year near Peace River, Alta.
“I’d certainly think about it, especially seeing as the airlines are starting to charge me for carry-on luggage.”
Proponents estimate the pipeline will be able to deliver 846 Maritimers per day.
“As Alberta’s economy keeps growing, we need to keep up with demand by finding more efficient, green ways of getting people out of eastern Canada and into work in our oil patch,” Prentice said.
“Pipelines are the future for the safe transportation of goods and I’m glad Alberta is ahead of the curve on the technology.”
The proposal will now be advanced for study to Alberta’s Energy Regulator.