It was inevitable. Our current conservative government is bent on approving any energy related projects, no matter what the potential environmental impacts might be, and no matter what we, the people of BC, really want. With the recent disappointing approval of the Northern Gateway Pipeline, we are left feeling that our thoughts and opinions don’t matter and that Alberta’s long-term goal of energy dominance is all that really warrants consideration.
Imagine, if you will, our pristine coastlines and ocean views covered in a thick, black tar. The toll on the local wildlife and our incredible landscapes would not be evident at first in the event of a spill, it might take years before the realization set in that this special place was forever changed in a way that is irreversible. Economic opportunities are the key consideration, above all else. And the worst part about it is that not only would we be the ones left to deal with the mess that I am personally highly skeptical could ever be really remediated, but we see almost none of the financial benefits of the project as a whole. I know for near certain that me and my family will find no benefit, but stand to lose everything we love.
All it takes is a few minutes spent researching the topic online to learn quickly that even though “the powers that be” seem to be happy to state that “everything will be fine, don’t panic”, the truth historically when it comes to pipelines in general is far from clear-cut. As a collective community, all it takes is to bring up the Exxon Valdez to know that even after 20+ years since the incident, the lasting effects are still being felt in the area. Trying to ignore those truths is an exercise carried out by our current government and those in control of the oil industry, and those of us who try to use common sense know that there’s far more to the story.
Who will explain to our children and our grandchildren that once this area was one of the most naturally beautiful areas in the world? Will an empty promise of a better life placate them and the destroyed habitats? Will the oil executives who are ultimately responsible for all this come to our shores and help with the clean-up? I suspect not.
We’ve all heard the proverbial expression “you can’t unring that bell”. Basically, it means that once an event occurs, it’s too late, nothing can be done to rectify the situation. There is so much anecdotal evidence out there that oil tankers and pipelines are fraught with danger in terms of the environmental impacts of breaches, and that they are frequently poorly maintained. In all reality they are just ticking time-bombs waiting for a nice day to go off.
All hope is far from lost, my friends, but the real battle is yet to begin. In essence, we need to undo the decisions made in Ottawa on our behalf (and once again I stress, without any of our input). During the hearings that took place over the course of the federal studies, in many cases the panels were behind closed-door meetings and were structured in such a way as to absolutely ensure no voices of dissent were introduced in the discussions.
At this time, we stand behind our friends at One Cowichan and the Dogwood Initiative as they creatively and constructively begin their daunting tasks of fostering initiatives to bring this story to a direct halt, and undo the damage that has been done so far. Please become involved if you can, it’s only through these channels that we have any hope.
Here is a list of related news articles compiled from a variety of online sources discussing this project, and similar ones, and the challenges and dangers they bring to our beloved shores:
Northern Gateway pipeline’s doubled-up challenge – Enbridge pipeline project has 2 pipes, one flowing east, one west, carrying 2 different products
Northern Gateway would up risk of whale strikes: biologist – A marine research group says humpback and other whales are already victims of vessel strikes
Kinder Morgan backtracks from oil spill benefit claim – Kinder Morgan is on the defensive over a proposal to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline through British Columbia, after the company was ridiculed for saying an oil spill can have positive economic effects
Confidence falls in safe transport of oil, polls suggest – Pipelines have most support, but confidence in Ottawa’s ability to protect environment slipping
Northern Gateway pipeline report ‘flawed,’ 300 scholars tell PM – Open letter from scholars to Canada’s PM Harper says report is so flawed, it’s essentially useless