When it comes to Northern Gateway, Premier Clark’s conditions still miss the point
In response to severe criticism of its corporate culture and oil spill response practices, the Enbridge pipeline corporation belatedly promised a half-billion dollars’ worth of additional safety measures along the proposed Northern Gateway bitumen pipeline. The company’s suggestion that this promise could somehow “address the concerns” that have been raised was a clear demonstration that Enbridge completely missed the point of substantial and growing opposition to this project in British Columbia.
Unfortunately, Premier Clark’s response, laying out five conditions for her government’s support for heavy oil pipelines, shows that — when it comes to the proposed Northern Gateway project — she too has missed the point.
Our concern has never been that there should be more capacity to respond to a catastrophic oil spill in our rivers or on our coast. Our concern has never been that this province’s share of revenues was not yet high enough. Our concern is that the Great Bear region of BC’s north coast is no place for crude oil pipelines or oil tanker traffic. Not now, and not ever, and not at any price.
The Great Bear is one of the richest and most biologically productive places on earth. It is one of the only places on our planet where intact coastal temperate rainforest, large wild rivers, and healthy cold-water seas come together. It is a stronghold for wild Pacific salmon populations, and essential habitat for at-risk populations of orca, humpback, and fin whales. The forests, rivers, and seas represent daily food and a way of life for coastal communities and First Nations. The immense natural capital of this region sustains a diverse economy representing tens of thousands of long-term Canadian jobs, valued at billions of dollars annually. Over the past decades, this region has become a model of conservation and sustainable economic development that is recognized around the world.
Our concerns are about what kind of province and country we want to be. As Canadians for the Great Bear, we are calling for a thoughtful and forward-looking energy strategy that does not put the future of our country’s ecological treasures at risk. We are calling for a Canadian energy strategy that protects our natural heritage, respects deep Canadian values of fairness and inclusiveness, secures Canadian jobs, and safeguards the interests of all Canadians – now and in the future.
We urge our Premier to join us, and a clear majority of British Columbians, in calling for a permanent end to any and all proposals to bring oil pipelines and oil tankers to BC’s north coast and the Great Bear Sea.