It was a fitting follow-up to our Oil Spill Forum on June 28 to be a part of the send-off for the Wilderness Committee‘s Salish Sea Tour on July 4, and it has been great to hear of all the good work they are doing towards raising awareness of the threats to our coastline.
The Oil Spill information panel that opened our General Meeting on June 28 provided ample reasons for resisting the expansion of oil and dilbit shipment through our land and waters – from the persistence of oily residue in the sands of Prince William Sound after more than 17 years since the Exxon Valdez disaster, to the dangerous volatility of the diluents used to thin out bitumen from the tar sands into ‘dilbit’ for the pipelines.
After scientists Dr. Riki Ott (who we managed to snag as an extra speaker at the last minute) and Prof. Lynne Quarmby (famous for getting arrested at the Enbridge site on Burnaby Mountain) explained some of the technical issues, Carleen Thomas (of the Tsleil-Waututh ‘Sacred Trust’ initiative) spoke of the impact on indigenous peoples and of our duty to work together to protect the land on which we live, and our own Lisa Barrett (former COPE council candidate) spoke of the economic and political implications.
Videos of all four speakers will soon be posted by Sid Chow Tan on our YouTube channel:
Since the forum, some of us also joined with Riki and Carleen at the send-off of the protest flotilla from Whey-ah-Wichen/Cates Park on July 4, and others were at the rally downtown later that day.
Ben West of the Wilderness Committee spoke as a representative of the team whose solar-and-sail catamaran is now on its way to raise awareness of some of the sacred and dangerous waters that massively increased tanker traffic will be travelling if we do not stop them by preventing the pipeline expansion.
Civic and indigenous governments must join in demanding a stop to the overriding of local objections by a National Energy Board which is devoted more to helping those who seek quick profits from exports than to preserving the real energy and security needs of our Country.