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Canadian Rivers Day

Skeena China Bar.jpgJune 13th is Canadian Rivers Day. Take action for laws that will protect BC from oil spills. In 2010, honouring BC’s watersheds holds particular importance, because BC’s river ecosystems face unimaginable threat. West Coast Environmental Law is calling on British Columbians to stand up for the 1,000+ rivers at risk of harm and devastation from the crude oil pipeline and supertankers project proposed by Enbridge Inc. This proposed pipeline will move tar sands oil across countless rivers and streams in northern BC, from Alberta to Kitimat, to supertankers travelling coastal routes near the delicate estuaries and outlets of numerous rivers on their way to Asian markets.

Federal and provincial regulation cannot prevent oil tanker and pipeline spills and leaks in BC – and they have failed to stop such spills in the past. We need laws that will protect British Columbia’s coastal and inland waters.


Pine River BC pipeline oil spill, August 2000,  photo courtesy of Wayne Sawchuk

Consider the recent disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, or the Exxon Valdez closer to home, to comprehend the scale of massive destruction that is possible.

For Canadian Rivers Day please make a donation to West Coast to help ensure that the integrity of BC’s rivers becomes safeguarded through the law.

FraserCanyon.jpgEnbridge recently filed its application with the National Energy Board (NEB), and it will be reviewed by a joint review panel comprised of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the NEB. NEB is made up of a number of people who are appointed by the federal government, primarily representatives from industry. The panel for the Enbridge project has 2 of these permanent members of the NEB sitting on it and one temporary member appointed just for the Enbridge project, a First Nations representative from Ontario with a history in the mining industry.

Statistics show that 99% of the projects submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency have been approved, even if significant adverse environmental and socio-economic effects were found.

On June 21, 2002, Canada’s government issued a proclamation declaring that the second Sunday of June would be celebrated annually as Canadian Rivers Day.

It is time for our government to walk the talk.

LOSMap_Medium.jpgThe Enbridge pipeline will cross over 1,000 British Columbian streams and rivers, passing through the headwaters of the Fraser, Skeena and Mackenzie watersheds. Potential spills and leaks into our waters will affect communities and wildlife far beyond the point of the rupture; in a river’s fast moving waters, spilled oil is practically impossible to contain or to clean up. For example, the toxic effects of an oil spill into the Fraser river system could be felt for hundreds of kilometres, stretching through at least 77 communities, including 39 First Nations, and ecosystems along the entire length of the Fraser River and into the Pacific Ocean.

Alberta tar sands development ranks as one of the most damaging energy projects on the planet.

And every British Columbian stands to be affected by dirty oil.

No_Tankers_Sign_Small.jpgThwarting the expansion of tar sands infrastructure into BC – and thereby constraining Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions – is a top priority at West Coast Environmental Law. We continue to work tirelessly for reforms to environmental assessment law and practice on major development projects such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal to transport tar sands oil across Northern BC – and for a permanent, legislative ban on oil tankers on the north coast – to legally ensure that there will be NO TANKERS IN OUR NORTHERN COASTAL WATERS.

This article reproduced courtesy of West Coast Environmental Law

Photo Credits:

Banner Picture: Sakhalin Environment Watch
Skeena River, China Bar:  Evan Spellman Earth Light Photography
Pine River Oil Spill: Photo courtesy of Wayne Sawchuk
South Fraser Canyon: Gregory Melle
Map: Courtesy Living Oceans Society

Used under Creative Commons license.