Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Defend our Coast!

Yesterday the Federal Government gave significant approval to the Enbridge pipeline proposal.

This is definitive evidence that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Government are not acting in the best interests of British Columbia.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal must not proceed. 

I join millions of others to demand that Premier Christy Clark respect the will of BC and oppose this project. 

It time for her to be true to her word: her “5 conditions” have not been met and therefore this project cannot move forward.

Then the BC Liberals can cancel a few meetings with their Big Oil lobbyist/donor friends and find more time to focus on what will create diverse long-term economic benefits: helping industry create more good-quality jobs that benefit BC communities, respects First Nations and protects our land, air and water. 

We want Economic Growth!

BC’s abundant natural gas and other more environmentally-friendly energy options is where we should focus, not on piping and shipping raw Alberta bitumen to China.

We now seem to have the technology to allow us to safely and economically extract abundant volumes of natural gas. The use and sale of this natural energy could create more jobs, generate more tax-dollars and strengthen rural communities and First Nations.

And it can be done in an environmentally responsible way – almost a mirror opposite to how the BC Liberal government is proceeding with its desperate and reckless lunge towards low-rate climate-killing LNG export to China.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline, however, is a non-starter. The benefits to BC are profoundly outweighed by the risks.

A oil spill is inevitable. 

The government’s own oil spill response study found that 97% of a spill on the north coast would be unrecoverable, massively polluting critical BC habitat.

Environment Canada released a study showing that diluted bitumen would sink in the case of a spill on BC’s north coast, destroying the eco-system, tourism and other economic activity.

In economic terms, the plan is short-sighted: it offers very few long-term jobs, at the risk of thousands of jobs and whole economies if a spill occurred.

Premier Clark is failing to protect BC.

The BC Liberals have consistently failed to protect BC’s best long-term interests. Nowhere is that seen more clearly than their dealings with Enbridge, a corporation with an absolutely terrible environmental record. For example, 2010 they spilt 35,000 barrels of oil, including more than 3 million litres into the Kalamazoo river in Michigan.

Premier Clark signed the province’s oversight away to the federal government. She robbed British Columbians of a direct say on this project.

She then turned a blind eye while a “Joint Review Panel” did a whitewash report. Note, the Panel refused to look at key evidence from Environment Canada, Transport Canada, and the BC government on the negative impact of tanker traffic and potential spills along the north coast. The Panel also refused to consider key reports on endangered species and First Nations

And the Panel cancelled hearings where the community concerns were greatest.

Affected Communities say “NO”
This project has been rejected by the communities it most affects and rejected by the Union of BC Municipalities.

First Nations support is a necessary first step
An overwhelming number of affected First Nations continue to say “NO” to this project. It would jeopardize huge swaths of pristine BC wilderness that is also their unceded territory.

That should be show-stopper right there. 

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that First Nations must be “accommodated” – and that is clearly not happening. If the BC Liberals and Federal Conservatives continue to try and push this through they will succeed only in wasting tens of millions of dollars in court cases.

Please join me and send your own message to Christy Clark right now:
BC must categorically reject Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal. 
BC must rework their LNG pipe-dream to concentrate on the opportunities to extract and sell BC natural gas in ways which maximize:
-Local jobs
-First Nations development
-Environmental protections

Lana Popham

MLA Saanich South

PS. Here is a video of Opposition Leader John Horgan and Opposition Environment Critic Spencer Chandra Herbert speaking about this issue to the media yesterday afternoon.