Monday, September 13, 2010

No Tar Sands Pipeline to the BC Coast!

Opposition is growing to the proposal to build a pipeline from the Tar Sands to coastal B.C.  Enbridge wants to construct a tanker port at Kitimat so that the world's filthiest fossil fuel can be shipped to eager markets in Asia.

Ooh but the natives are restless and it's not just the First Nations either.   British Columbians are fed up.   We're fed up with our lying weasel of a premier.   We're fed up with his entire il-Liberal government.  We're fed up with what they've done to BC Ferries, BC Hydro and BC Rail.   We're fed up with their enthusiastic support for offshore drilling in Canada's most seismically active region.  We're fed up with their damned Harmonized Sales Tax and the scam they used to impose it against our will.

Overall it's a pretty tough crowd for a gang of Albertan Tar Sanders who want to put our pristine coast at risk so they can flog their oil to Asia.

Iggy says a tanker port is okay, just not up in Kitimat.   The alternative is to run those tankers straight through Vancouver's inner harbour via the treacherous Second Narrows.   That should all but ensure that the Harvard schoolboy loses most of whatever support the Liberals still have in this province.

But back to Kitimat.   Just around the corner from the proposed tanker terminal lies the village of Hartley Bay, home of the Gitga'at First Nation.    You may remember them as the folks who manned a flotilla of their little boats to rescue the passengers and crew of the BC ferry Queen of the North after it ran into tiny Gil Island and quickly sank.   Those people live off these waters and they know that their waters are no place for oil tanker traffic.

The Tyee reports that their village at Hartley Bay is "ground zero" for the looming battle to kill the supertanker port:

Villagers have always felt at Mother Nature's mercy, but to some extent, they've adjusted to her cycles. During the spring, residents migrate to a seaweed and halibut camp at Kiel. And each autumn they visit the Quaal River for salmon.

Gitga'at culture has been battered long and hard by fur traders, churches, loggers, treaties and fisheries, Clifton said. Under Enbridge's proposal, 220 supertankers would pass annually within view of Hartley Bay. A major oil spill could wipe out whatever culture is left. "We've had many, many battles throughout our history, since as inhabitants we were discovered," Clifton said.

"But the sea is food for our soul. We need that."

Those battles -- and others -- were globally important, said Bruce Hill, a former logger turned conservationist with a long history in the region. But logging firms, he argues, just don't measure up to oil companies in terms of political or economic clout. Enbridge, one of the country's foremost pipeline operators, got $100 million from anonymous oil producers and Asian funders to help its project through federal reviews.
"This is the full weight of Canada as a petro-state," Hill said. "B.C.'s environmental movement has never had a fight like this before."
Now those Oil Heads and Tar Sanders on Parliament Hill may think this idea is just dandy but they're just plain stupid if they think British Columbians, and I mean the lot, are going to put up with this.  Why?  Just so Alberta can boil more bitumen out of the ground? 
Andrew Nikiforuk is right.   Canada has been transformed into a petro-state and we're beginning to act just like all those other corrupt petro-states act.  We hide the truth.  We lie. We put Big Oil's interests ahead of the public interest at every turn.  And that's a damned disgrace.

And, if you're even slightly outraged at this, you should read Murray Dobbin's explanation of why, for Canadian progressives, stopping the Tar Sands madness should be "the fight of our lives."


LMA said...

Some Greenpeace activists have started "the Pipedreams Project", and are undertaking a 900 km. two month kayaking trip along the B.C. coast to Vancouver to protest the Enbridge pipeline. Good stuff.

A lot more of these public protests are needed. Enbridge seems to have a terrible safety record, and are now investigating what may be the third pipeline leak in the last couple of months, this one near Buffalo.

I hope the people of B.C. will fight Enbridge all the way, because a lot of Canadians don't seem to give a damm.

The Mound of Sound said...

I think Enbridge, Ottawa and the Alberta and BC governments have underestimated the furor this pipeline/tanker terminal will unleash. At least it should guarantee full employment in Alberta because they'll need just about every employable body to guard that pipeline.

Most of those Tar Sand companies are American anyway. Why not pipe the garbage to a tanker port in the U.S. and keep the peril away from BC's shores?

Anonymous said...

Enbridge, had spills in, the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, Cohasset Minnesota, Wisconsin, Glenavon Saskatchewan, and a dozen more spills. The fish in the Athabasca Lake, are deformed, because of the dirty tar sands. They have now found, dirty oil leaching, into the mighty Athabasca River. China, now owns a large chunk, of the dirty tar sands, in Alberta. So, pipe bursting and leaking Enbridge, are to lay a pipeline, to Port Kitimat, where the dirty oil tankers from China, will carry the dirty crude, back to China. There is still oil gathering on the rocks from, the Valdez spill 21 years ago. Campbell, has already did a vendetta, on the F.N People, because they protested the, toxic mine waste, being dumped into Fish Lake. All the fish will die, and the animals and birds, that use that lake, will also perish. The F.N People, will no doubt get another vendetta, over the dirty oil pipeline, and the dirty tankers. Harper, did not interfere, with Campbell's dirty tactics, that are still being used to destroy the BC people. He has no right to interfere, with the BC peoples objection, to the dirty oil pipe dreams. We have to live in the pollution, he doesn't. Keep the dirty tar sand oil, dirty oil pipeline and dirty tankers, the hell out of BC.

The Mound of Sound said...

And can you imagine the ecological havoc that a tanker accident, in the challenging passages where the Queen of the North recently sank, would have on that region?

The Americans haven't been able to get Exxon to make good on their damages in Prince William Sound. How would governments as weak as Victoria and Ottawa manage?

Fortunately opposition is growing to the whole west coast oil tanker port idea. I remain optimistic that the First Nations can lead a broader, province-wide effort to demand the tanker port be shelved, permanently.