Canadian Nurses for Health & the Environment
Infirmieres et Infirmiers pour la Sante et l'Environnement
The risks to the health of Canadians and the environment is far too high!
One of the hottest environmental issues in the Canadian and global consciousness this year involves the proposed new Enbridge Northern Gateway project and Kinder Morgan Transmountain Expansion Project.
Three key threats are enfolded in this issue:
- Tar sand drilling and expansion in Alberta that will elevate the toxic aerial and terrestrial pollution, and increase greenhouse gas emissions;
- The installation of long dual pipelines from Alberta to Kitimat on the northern British Columbia coast, and another from Alberta to Vancouver
- The demand for enormous super tankers to carry the new oil from northern British Columbia and Vancouver to Asia and the USA
The Enbridge Northern Gateway 4.5 billion dollar proposal states that they want to pump over half a million barrels a day of unrefined bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands in Bruderheim, Alberta over the Rocky Mountain range, through the wild and pristine expanse of northern British Columbia which includes close to a thousand rivers and lesser waterways, through the Great Spirit Rainforest, to the coastal town of Kitimat. Along the way, several towns and cities would be in harm’s way, including Morinville, Mayerthorpe, Whitecourt, Fox Creek, and Grande Prairie in Alberta and Bear Lake, Tumbler Ridge, Prince George, Fort St James, Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Houston, Smithers, Terrace, and Kitimat in BC. From there, super tankers would navigate through very dangerous and tight channels along the wild BC coast to carry the toxic sludge to processing plants for refinement. All of the coastal towns and villages would be at risk for potential spills plus disruption of marine life and ecosystems from the tanker noise and waves. The risks of leaking pipelines and marine oil spills are profound. It is not surprising that many Canadian citizens have rallied together to protest this plan, including many First Nations communities from across Canada.
According to the Dogwood Initiative, “The Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal would build two parallel pipelines from Alberta's tar sands to BC's north coast. If approved, the pipelines would traverse the salmon-bearing Upper Fraser and Skeena watersheds, and would bring 225 oils tankers a year to BC's northern coastal waters.”
According to their web site, this 4.1 billion dollar project involves another threat to the Alberta and BC people and environment by increasing the pipeline transport from 300,000 barrels per day to 750,000 barrels per day. “Kinder Morgan Canada is proposing to expand the capacity of the existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline system between Edmonton, Alberta and Burnaby British Columbia, including the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. The proposed expansion is based on commitments received from its customers during its recent Open Season process, which was held from October 2011 to April 2012.” This proposed expansion affects towns and cities including Edmonton, Jasper, Clearwater, Kamloops, Merritt, Hope, Chilliwack, the Fraser Valley, Burnaby, and Vancouver.
Kinder Morgan Canada will file an application to the National Energy Board (target date: late 2013) to initiate regulatory and environmental review of the proposed expansion project. We will be watching for opportunities to be involved in this review. If the regulatory application process is successful, construction of the new pipeline could begin as early as 2016. The expanded capacity would be ready for use in 2017. Right now is the best time to begin following the Kinder Morgan plans and taking a stand against its expansion. Local communities in Vancouver, Burnaby, and the Fraser Valley are rallying together to stop this expansion. Kinder Morgan is trying to keep the issue out of the media, since the Enbridge proposal is meeting a lot of resistance from Canadians.
This pipeline would expand the transport of dirty oil across several mountain ranges, to the southwestern BC coast, ending its route through the suburban Vancouver area. The increased super tanker traffic would mean higher risk along the entire Burrard Inlet, necessitating navigation through swift currents, under two bridges, then around the series of islands that lie between the mainland coastline and the open Pacific waters.
Both of these projects give Canada a very negative image in the global arena. Instead of encouraging Asian countries to seek clean energy sources, both Enbridge and Kinder Morgan are supporting higher use of the dirtiest oil on the planet. People listen to nurses - we need to gather our voices together to stop these destructive proposals and help people wake up to the reality – it is time to stop relying on fossil fuels! End of story!
From Tar Sands to Tankers: The Battle to stop Enbridge (16 mins)
Oil in Eden: The Battle to Protect Canada's Pacific Coast (17 mins)
Spoil - Documentary on the Great Bear Rainforests under threat by Pipelines (44 mins)
BC's Huge Gamble - Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline (9 mins)
Robert Bateman - Not a Pretty Picture (2 mins)
Ta'Kaiya Blaney - Shallow Waters (7 mins)
As these videos demonstrate, the risks to the land, water, people, animals, fish, and fowl in BC are enormous. No amount of money is worth these risks. The actual profit gained by Canada is miniscule compared to the costs that just one pipeline leak or super tanker spill would cost.
The threats that the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan proposals entail are very important to all Canadian nurses. We must add our voice to those who vehemently oppose this proposal. The determinants of health of many BC and Alberta people could be threatened if Enbridge and Kinder Morgan are successful in pushing through their proposals. Join us by writing a letter, signing petitions, and supporting those who actively voice opposition to this proposal.
Currently, a Joint Review Panel from the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is reviewing the risks and benefits of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. The CNHE is joining other Canadians in sending a letter of comment to the Review Board (deadline is August 31, 2012).
Final Hearings will be held in various locations across BC and Alberta from September 2012 through January 2013. This review has a limited scope, as exemplified by the West Coast Environmental Law society clearly point out. In fact, the current Canadian government is actively trying to ‘sell’ the importance of the tar sands oil dubbed by them as ‘ethical oil’ to make Canada an oil super power. Unethical means have been used to silence those who stand up for the environment and protest the idea of tar sands, pipeline and super tanker expansion. It is the responsibility of nurses to stand up and be heard, especially when dealing with a serious threat to the health and well-being of Canadians and the national environment.
Sign the No Tankers petition organized by the Dogwood Initiative
Sign Greenpeace’s Stop the Enbridge Pipeline Letter to Joe Oliver, federal Minister of Natural Resources and sign their Petition to stop the Pipeline
Follow the Pacific Wild’s Action Plan
Contact Prime Minister Stephen Harper and ask him to ban the pipelines and oil tanker traffic in BC!
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister,
80 Wellington Street, Ottawa K1A 0A2
Phone: 613 992 4211
Pacific Wild provides a sample letter to send to the Prime Minister:
Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
I strongly oppose bringing crude oil to the Great Bear Rainforest.
The proposed plan to build a crude oil pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to the North Coast is the wrong choice for British Columbia. Allowing this pipeline to be built and oil tanker traffic in the pristine waters of the Great Bear Rainforest would undermine the conservation gains already made and the way of life of the coastal First Nations people.
More than 80 percent of British Columbians oppose crude oil tanker traffic on the North Coast and the coastal First Nations have declared a ban under their traditional laws. This project would be a major, long-term investment in dirty oil development at a time when B.C. and Canada should be investing in the clean energy economy.
We have the opportunity to set an example here. To show how we deal with the last few wild places on our planet and more importantly, for how we honor and respect the rights and traditions of First Nations and all indigenous people. I strongly urge you to have the foresight and ingenuity to move forward with a plan that will move British Columbia, and Canada, into the future instead of clinging to the status quo.
Thank you for your time.
| Minister of the Environment
Hon. Dr. Terry Lake
PO BOX 9047
STN PROV GOVT,
Victoria, BC V8W 9EZ
Telephone: 250 387-1187
Fax: 250 387-1356
Minister of State for Climate Action's Office
Hon. John Yap
Victoria,B.C. V8V 1X4
Fax: 250 952-7263
| Minister of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Operations
Hon. Steve Thomson
Victoria,B.C. V8V 1X4
Hon. Christy Clark
Premier of British Columbia
Victoria,B.C. V8V 1X4
Writing letters to newspapers is extremely helpful. Newspaper editors, like politicians, need to know what people are thinking about regarding the issues facing Canada's Pacific coast. The editorial section is often the first page politicians turn to.
North Shore News firstname.lastname@example.org
Prince George Citizen email@example.com
Vancouver Sun firstname.lastname@example.org
Vancouver Province email@example.com
Victoria Times-Colonist firstname.lastname@example.org
Expose written by June Kaminski, President-Elect on behalf of the CNHE, August 2012