WWF-Canada Blog:

Oil tankers and oil pipelines too great a risk: Canadians for the Great Bear

Spokespeople, representing a range of political stripes and expertise, joined forces to call for a sustainable future for Canada’s unique Great Bear region. The group raised expert concerns about the risks of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to Canadian values, jobs, and the environment.

“It’s tremendously important to me to be a Canadian for the Great Bear.  The amazing places we have in our country are part of what it means to be Canadian,” says Niedermayer, who grew up in interior B.C.

Backed by WWF-Canada and B.C.’s Coastal First Nations, Canadians for the Great Bear are calling for an energy strategy that respects nature, reflects Canadian values and works for all Canadians.

“I am a Canadian for the Great Bear because the risks of an oil tanker or pipeline spill far outweigh any potential rewards,” says Grand Chief Edward John, Hereditary Chief of Tl’azt’en Nation. “The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline has united First Nations across the province to stop this pipeline and increased oil tanker traffic on the coast.”

At today’s launch, Peter Ladner, former Vancouver city councilor and co-founder of Business in Vancouver Media Group, pointed out the risks to B.C.’s economy while economist Robyn Allan noted that Enbridge’s business case is based on Canadians paying more at the pump, at the store, and in our homes.

Scientists from B.C. universities spoke out about the threats to long-held Canadian values of environmental stewardship.

“I am a Canadian for the Great Bear because I believe that exposing this region’s biodiversity to an unacceptably high risk, in return for poor economic and social returns, is not a rational decision,” says noted University of British Columbia scientist Dr. Eric Taylor.  “It runs counter to B.C.’s motto… Splendor sine occasu …splendour without diminishment.”

The campaign will rally Canadian individuals, businesses, and communities to speak out for a sustainable future for the Great Bear region. “We’re inviting Canadians across the country to join our team,” says Niedermayer.

  • Paolo Tancon says:

    The Athabasca River system that cuts its way through the tar sands has been naturally polluting the river with bitumen (unprocessed tar) long before man ever populated the area. Man is now in the process of removing some of the bitumen (tar) and using for a multitude of useful purposes, and will continue to need this valuable resource for many decades if not centuries to come. Shipping oil by pipe and tanker is the most environmentally friendly, safe, and cost effective way there is.

  • Chuck Brody says:

    We should be moving away from our dependency on fossil fuels.The risk of a major spill on our pristine coast is just not worth it !

  • Andrea says:

    I would just like to say that from 1999-2008, Enbridge has had over 600 oil spills. They were responsible for the biggest oil spill ever recorded which was in the Mississippi River last year. Enbridge never EVER cleaned up the mess they made!! They started hiding it under rock and grass in pristine, bushy forest areas (cheaper for them right?). In order to build these pipelines, they need to cut through the Great Bear forest. This forest makes up 25% of the worlds existing frainforests with over 6.4MILLION acres. They will also be crossing 1000 lakes and streams and would have to cut through about 450 First Nation Communities. Anyone who was able to make a sustainable living on their own through fishing, farming, hunting will greatly suffer. About 225 supertankers a YEAR will be coming in and out of BC coastlines. An oil spill WILL happen! The negatives far outweigh the positives in my oppinion. Sure alot of jobs will be created in building the pipelines BUT, once the pipelines are built, those workers are not needed anymore. Now BC is FULL of seafood and oceanic businesses. When an oil spill happens to our waters, and it will, 45 000 jobs will be at risk. This project is destroying future generations now and forever and believe me, Enbridge has never had the best track record. All of this oil is going to be transfered to China on supertankers, China will turn the oil into petrolium products, and then sell it back to us…. HELLO PEOPLE, WAKE UP AND GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS!!!!! Oil refineries are the biggest threat to our environment. This expansion needs to stop! Contact your PM and tell them how you feel! Our land, our waters, our jobs, our choice! Its a new era, we need renewable energy now or our planet is screwed.

  • Tor says:

    In response to Jordan’s comment below:
    I think you’re making quite a few assumptions about the risks associated with this project. I think it’s irrational to assume the oil company has our best interests in mind and would never build a pipeline unless it was 100% safe. In an ideal world, I would like to believe this would be true, but in a world where profits come first, Enbridge is working in their own best interests, not in the best interests of Canada, the inhabitants of B.C. or the wildlife that calls the Great Bear region home.

  • Jordan says:

    this is such a joke. the potential for an oil spill is ridiculous. There is a sure profit that will solve much of canadas monetary needs. The system of the pipeline has been tested and tried, and obviously they(the oil companies) are not gonna put some less than standard pipeline in. also, any possible spill that could happen will be cleaned up immediately. remember the BP oil spill?? Canada’s financial system is already in need of dire help, do you think that they would let something like that happen?? Also, the amount of jobs and opportunities for jobs that will result from this pipeline is incredible. no part of nature will be harmed in the slightest way. people who comment on this article about how the environment will be ruined etc. need to do their homework. this is a very real and feasible solution to canada’s debt issues, especially on the west coast, and people need to wake up and thank Mr. Harper for this. People need to stop attacking the oil companies, shut up about what they dont know about, and realize that this is the future, and Canada needs to stay on top of the markets in this way. Do people honestly think that Canadians are stupid enough to let an oil spill happen?? No, of course not. Seriously people, shut up, do some homework, and go find a job. Dont even get me started on the amount of jobs available, and the fact that Canadians are too proud and lazy to find them. Some people make me sick.

  • Marjorie-Anne Smith says:

    Anyone who has seen or lived in BC knows that it is not a place for a pipeline! The ones that are for the pipelines usually have shares and are thinking in terms of greed! Jobs will be temporary where as tourism is a year round.
    Do you really think that tourism will keep growing with the beauty of BC damaged? What about the rainforest? Once gone there is no regrowing it! Same thing with all wildlife that consider the great bear region as home! Oceans can not be replaced so more tankers is not an option either!

    It’s time for Canadians to stand up and say “NO!” to Mr Harper and the oil companies

  • Tim Rice says:

    Rediculous envrio nonesense. Easy to get milllionaire pensioned hockey players onside. Working famiies need this largest investment in BC’s history. There will be no end of BC oil spill. Sit down, shut up and let the people that want to work get to work.

  • charles timmons says:

    first of all it is not oil sands it is tar sands that is just the spin the govt has put on it and secondly there is no concern about the native bands in alberta that live downstream from the place they are mining it now and the result of the operation is cancer polluted water and the fact that the govt wont even broach the subject sickens me as do harper and his govt…..they dont get life…dont have a clue!!!!

  • brad noakes says:

    I find it very hard to believe that this pipeline is going to solve the oil needs of China and the money needs of Canada. The way this pipeline has been shoved down the throats of all canadians is a disgrace. It speaks volumes of what our current federal government is all about, its not worth the risk to the lands and coastline of BC. The CPC are here until 2016 but their legacy will live on far longer. There is nothing good about pipelines and oil tankers. Major problems will abound in the future.

  • Una says:

    PLEASE stop this insanity. When are governments going to get it!! We need to save the earth for our grandchildren, who, presently, are more concerned about the evironment than the so-called educated government officials!
    Tell then to watch The Lorax!!

  • scottie sopow says:

    please inform me on anything I can do to stop this pipeline from happening.

    P.S.. WHERE IS ALL THE LARGE PIPE GOING THAT I SEE ON THE COQUIHALLA EVERY DAY..? Its being hauled by what seems to be a small trucking firm .

  • Todd Kerrigan says:

    All you have to do is look downstream from the Tar sands, and look at what is happening to the 3rd largest freshwater system in the world, to see the end product of the pipeline’s effect on the environment. Tie that in with Enbridge’s track record with spills and we will lose a lot of our pristine wilderness forever. If we look at the results of the Exxon Valdize spill, the environment still hasn’t recovered. There is still oil on the beaches.
    When will we realize that we can’t continue to depend on oil. It was an answer to a long gone age’s need for energy and it’s time has passed. We need to find a better energy source other than the dirtiest oil on the planet

  • Lydia Koot says:

    I think the pipeline from Enbridge and Kinder Morgan have to big of a risk to contaminate the whole coast of BC in case of a spill. And spills do happen much too often.
    This part of BC should not be sold for oil profits, we as BC residents have only a very few short term jobs from this and no profit in the long term than risking the beauty of the still unspoiled nature of that part of BC’s coast.
    I’m sure we have more jobs opportunities and long term profit if we do Eco tourism in those area’s and keep protecting the species of wild life which only exist in that part of BC and for that matter the world.

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