The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline continues to stir up angry controversy from activists opposed to the project. This week, in some of the latest arguments against its development, critics say the pipeline will cut through the Great Bear region of British Columbia’s northern coast – ultimately harming its fragile environment.
The area is one of the world’s largest remaining intact coastal temperate rainforests. The WWF says the Great Bear region contains some of the Earth’s most pristine wild salmon rivers. The group says it is one of the richest and most spectacular ecosystems on our planet.
“The Great Bear is a global ecological treasure, and its future is in our hands”, says the wildlife agency.
Critics of the Northern Gateway pipeline say it would bring millions of barrels of toxic crude oil and hundreds of oil tankers each year to this special place. The WWF says oil tankers and a pipeline present the “unacceptable risk of oil spills that would threaten the ecosystems, jobs, cultures and communities of this region”.
That’s why the WWF and Coastal First Nations have launched a campaign called ‘Canadians for the Great Bear”. Some prominent Canadians have already pledged their support, including hockey hero Scott Niedermayer – affectionately known as Captain Canada.
Supporters are calling for a sustainable future for Canada’s unique Great Bear region. The group is raising both expert and personal concerns about the risks of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to Canadian values, jobs, and the environment. The partnership says that the range of views reflects growing, mainstream Canadian opposition to Enbridge’s proposed project.
Novelist Joseph Boyden is among dozens of high-profile supporters of the campaign: “I’m a Canadian for the Great Bear because the idea of pumping tar sands bitumen through some of our country’s most pristine wilderness before dumping it into giant tankers that will then attempt to wend their way through some of the world’s most dangerous oceans is not just ill-advised, it’s environmental and economic Russian roulette. And I believe that Canadians are waking up to this.”
In 2006, Canadian governments reportedly forged an historic agreement with First Nations, industry, and other groups to pursue a new vision for the Great Bear. The agreement was meant to set out a global model of sustainability designed to create jobs, attract investment, and strengthen communities while protecting ecosystems. ‘Canadians for the Great Bear’ hopes to strengthen those values and is looking for further support from people across the country.
The $6-billion dollar Northern Gateway project is currently the subject of a massive hearing in Edmonton. Today, the CBC reports that the panel heard arguments against Enbridge’s proposed project. The panel was told that the benefits to the oil industry may be exaggerated and its costs to the economy and environment underestimated.
Photo via Dogwood Initiative