Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Who will ultimately pay the price...

The Enbridge Pipeline Project Proposal and the potential impacts of a spill from the pipeline and or a Super Tanker have far reaching implications beyond the Northwest Coast of BC!

Imagine 225 Ultra Crude Carrier (Super Tanker) of over 1000 feet long, 160 feet wide, 110 feet deep and 1.4 Billion pounds when fully loaded, going at 16 knots, traveling into our water ways, meandering through narrow and potentially treacherous channels. Keep in mind that it takes up to 3 kms long (a full 15 minutes) to go from full speed ahead to full reverse. Now imagine it hitting a rock, spilling up to 2 million barrels of bitumen (unrefined highly toxic tar/oil). That is 10 times the volume of Exxon Valdez (Refer to map of Prince William Sound in Alaska)!!!!

Did you know that Bitumen, which is full of all kinds of toxins, if spilled would sink when in the ocean and smother the ocean bottom, but the oil and toxins will ooze out of this heavy substance (tar) float to the surface and kill all that is on the surface and shores!!! One of the larger potential hazards to all marine species of a potential oil spill in the Northern Tanker route is the way the water currents flow right in the same path as all of our Pacific Salmon and if the oil sinks, this would be very detrimental to all of the salmon as the food source that they live on comes from the bottom of the sea when the North Pacific up-wells nutrients to the surface.

Now, consider the vastness of the coast, the tides, the weather, the water conditions, the distance of the nearest response team, the amount of labor and equipment required and how long it would take to mobilize this effort to slow the hemorrhage and minimize the damage, because we would not be able to stop it!!!!

Think about where the oil, which would be a lot if you consider the elements and factors above, that manages to leach along the western (Haida Gwaii), northern, central, and southern shores of BC, Alaska, and Washington states and how this would affect our pristine water ways and suffocate and kill all the marine life and swamp onto our beaches kill the plant life and leach into our river systems, and killing our bird life and harming all the other land species, including humans, that rely on these resources for sustenance.

Then think about the fact that Enbridge's liability ends when this so called petroleum product hits the tanker hold, and they can wipe their hands from any responsibility to clean up. And the fact that they and the tankers are only facilitating the transfer of the oil from the oil companies to the refineries and customers in China and around the world....

Who is going to be ultimately responsible for the cleanup, how much will this cost? Who will ultimately pay the price for a few measly jobs and some tax money...? WE WILL!

Are you willing to take the risk?... Are you willing to say Yes or abstain (which is just like saying yes) to this eventual possibility?... Are you willing to risk our irreplaceable and invaluable resources for a few jobs and money from dirty oil? Are you willing to destroy what rightfully belongs to your children, and children's children, and future generations for short term gains?

We the Hilzaqv of Bella Bella are not and we hope you will join us as we say NO TO ENBRIDGE, because it would will not only be us who will suffer, you will be affected as well, but more importantly our future generations will be holding the burden if it is decided that this project will proceed.

Although we are of the mindset that the Tar Sands exploration be discontinued for a number of serious environmental reasons, but realize this is not likely, the industry should be challenged to consider other alternatives such as refining the oil in Alberta and keep the jobs here in Canada and the tankers off our shores!

Say NO to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project being proposed in Haisla Territory and Say NO to Ultra Large Crude Carriers traveling through our Pristine Coastal Waters!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spill from Hell: Diluted Bitumen - The Tyee

Given Enbridge's record and their recent shameful public blunders regarding responses to spills from their aging existing pipelines, especially as it relates to the Tar Sands Diluted Bitumen (aka Dilbit), it is unfathomable to believe that Transport Canada has approved the route for Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCC's) to transport Dilbit through Douglas Channel and the Queen Charlotte Sound to China! Considering the public outcry of concern by the folks who know about the risks inherent in the Northwest Coast marine ways, there was no reasonable rational other than industry and political pressure and influence, notwithstanding the fact that a decision in this regard should not have been until the JRP process was complete.

Enbridge and the Super Tanker industry has somehow convinced Federal Ministries such as MOE, Transport Canada, DFO, and others, and would try to lead us to believe, that they have a full proof plan to mitigated and minimize the potential for a leak and spill from their proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline Development, all in the name of "Canada's National Interest"... More likely "all in the name of Oil & Gas Company and Albertan's Interest!!!" and at the cost of losing BC's Pristine Coast!

Allowing these monstrosities to travel through these narrow rock riddled passageways with 5 hairpin turns, which lacks the anchorage's and tugs to hold and pilot them, the unpredictable weather and current patterns, and despite the advice from experts against this, is pure negligence. Even with these obvious warnings and the associated socio-economic costs of a spill, as evidenced from the Exxon Valdez and most recently the Gulf of Mexico spills, it is perplexing how Transport Canada, based on industry studies derived from computer modeling, can say there is minimal risks!

The following article is proof that it is incomprehensible to think that Enbridge nor the Super Tanker Industry can mitigate the risk let alone respond appropriately to minimize the impact of a Dilbit spill within our coastal waters!!!

Read the following link for more details...

The Tyee – Spill from Hell: Diluted Bitumen

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Save Our Shores Rally

11:30 AM start
409 Granville St., Vancouver B.C.

Hilzaqv Hemas (Hereditary Chiefs)
The Heiltsuk people are the rightful owners, and therefore the caretakers, of our territorial lands & waters, in the Great Bear Rain-forest on BC’s Central Coast, so we must speak up for all the creatures, as they have no idea what’s happening, nor can they speak for themselves. We believe and have faith that native people and all others, who care deeply for the land, waters, and all that inhabit them, will rise above any struggles we are faced with!

We are very prideful of who we are regardless of the boundaries that have been placed on us by the non-Heiltsuk governments. We will not permit Enbridge to take away what is vital to our way of living! The Heiltsuk strive to survive on what mother earth has been providing us for over 11,000 years, wild salmon, clams, halibut, snappers, ling cod, ooligans, seaweed, herring, herring eggs, deer, elk, crabs, cockles, mussels, sea urchins & prawns etc.

We’re sharing this because we wish to inform you that the Heiltsuks are in the process of planning a Peaceful ‘Save Our Shores’ Rally/Protest in Vancouver in opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. We had officially announced during the West Coast Night that the Rally will be on March 26, 2012, the 23rd Anniversary of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Catastrophe in Prince William Sound Alaska. The proposed route will start from the Great Bear Initiative Office on Granville and Hasting, to the Vancouver Art Gallery and then to Enbridge's BC Regioal Office on Burrard Street.

We respectfully request the support of the Coast Salish communities, whose land we will be rallying on, all Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people residing in Vancouver lower mainland, the Power to Women and other Aboriginal groups, and our other allies such as Sierra Club, Dogwood Initiative, and Pacific Wild.
Please rally with us as we peacefully voice our concerns in regards to the proposed pipeline and the subsequent Super Tanker traffic within our traditional territory! We also asked that you share and forward to as many others, as we want to reach as many people as we can.

Walas Giaxsixa (Many Thanks) for taking the time to read and for coming out in support of our opposition to Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline!

Please click here for more details

For further details contact: Tess Brown - contessab59@gmail.com

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hilzaqv Sasem stage a 48 Hour Protest and Invite you to join them...

Heiltsuk Sasem getting media attention for their efforts!! Read here for more details!

First Nation loses bid to take Shell oilsands battle to Supreme Court

University of Calgary aboriginal law expert Ni-gel Bankes, who is also the university's chair of Natural Resources Law, has said the government's policy of simply posting lease sales online and not going to First Nations directly doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

"I'd say the province isn't doing a good job," Bankes said when an Alberta court quashed the First Nation's initial appeal last year.

"Particularly when it comes to granting oilsands rights, be-cause they basically say, 'We can fulfil our duty simply by posting stuff on our website.' I don't think that's real consultation."

"The decision at trial was essentially that the First Nation missed the deadline for commencing its judicial re-view," Bankes said. "I am suggesting that that's incorrect, and that time should start to run . . . when the First Nation gets actual notice from the Crown."

Before and After Tarsands Development
For more details read here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Coastal First Nation's Reaction to Transport Canada's Decision Allowing Super Tankers Carrying Tar Sands Bitumen to Navigate Within the Waters of their Member Nations Traditional Territories!

Art Sterritt Picture courtesy of Straight.Com
(Vancouver, Feb. 23, 2012) - Transport Canada's decision to allow Enbridge to use supertankers carrying oil to navigate the waters within the Traditional Territories of the Coastal First Nations is unfathomable, says Art Sterritt.

Sterritt, the executive director of the Coastal First Nations, says numerous safety issues, including treacherous passage ways, poor weather conditions and human error, were ignored or minimized by Transport Canada. “It is nonsensical to say there will always be residual risk in any project. This shocking decision means a disproportionate share of risk clearly falls on the people who live within the Great Bear Rainforest.” 

The decision is yet another way in which the federal government is unduly influencing the very flawed Joint Review Process on the Enbridge Project, he said. “It’s abundantly clear the government isn’t interested in what the public hearing process determines.”

The Coastal First Nations has been studying the potential impacts of tanker oil spills in the Great Bear Sea for the past eight years, Sterritt said. “We recently completed report “A Review of Potential Impacts to Coastal First Nations from an Oil Tanker Spill Associated with the Northern Gateway Project” that confirms a tanker spill would cause catastrophic economic, environmental and cultural damage.”

He said the report found that many of the response techniques identified by Enbridge, including booming around tankers to contain spilled oil, skimmers and booms used to remove oil, and re-direction to sensitive areas are similar to methods used during the Exxon Valdez cleanup. “The Exxon Valdez experience shows these response techniques were largely ineffective in containing and collecting spilled oil. These techniques resulted in the recovery of only 14% of the original amount of oil released from the grounding event.”

Costs related to damage caused by a major oil spill in the Great Bear Sea could reach as high as $23 billion, Sterrit said. “Oil tankers in the Great Bear Sea are a threat to our culture and a steadily improving coastal economy. The Coastal First Nations, along with our allies, will continue to take any actions that are necessary to stop oil tankers from traversing the Great Bear Sea.”

The Coastal First Nations are an alliance of First Nations that includes the Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk, Gitga’at, Haisla, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate, and Council of the Haida Nation working together to create a sustainable economy on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii.


Art Sterritt
Executive Director, Coastal First Nations

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do You Think DFO's Silence on Enbridge and Super Tankers Should be Considered Gross Negligence?

Through all the concern and hoopla regarding Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline project, and the subsequent Tanker Traffic that would riddle the Northwest Coast, there is one Federal Department that has not raised any concerns about the threats that these developments will have on the primary area of their concern, The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Considering DFO's mandate is to ensure healthy and abundant fish stocks, protecting the species that are outlined in the Species at Risk Act, and ensure the overall health of the marine environment and their ecosystems are cared for, they have been silent on an issue that will have significant impact on the marine environment whether there is a spill or not.

Consider the magnitude of the ships let alone the significant traffic from China that will result from development of the pipeline in Kitamaat, BC! In addition to the myriad of other marine traffic from carrier ships, cruise ships, tugs and barges, fishing vessels, and recreational vessels, this pipeline is expected to attract 225 or more tankers, and many of them Ultra or Very Large Crude Carriers (Super Tankers), navigating to and from our coastal waters through to Kitamaat by way of Douglas Channel.

Many highly experienced and educated individuals have said, it is not a matter of if, but when one of these Super Tanker has an accident as a result of mechanical, human error, and or environmental cause. Whether it collides with another vessel, a submerged rock, or our coastal shores, a BITUMEN oil spill from one of these Ultra Large Crude Carriers will cause a cataclysmic marine disaster that will destroy the resources we as First Nation relied on for thousands of years, not to mention those industry stakeholders who gain economic benefit from as well, such as Commercial Fishermen of all kinds, Eco-Tourism operators or Sports Fishing Lodges. Aside from the unthinkable risks of a major oil spill, which would devastate our marine ecosystem, these Super Tankers give noise equivalent to that of a airline jet, disrupting and changing the patterns of the marine species that inhabit the Northwest Coast. This can be very detrimental, especially to the Species at Risk such as the Orca Whale!

A recent Supreme Court decision ruled that the Federal Minister of Fisheries has a legal obligation to protect the Orca! The court said all elements of the plan must be enshrined in law. That would mean protecting the chinook salmon, that whales' main food source, reducing underwater noise from boat, industrial, and military activity and cleaning up toxic contamination in the whale's home ecosystem. The following CBC link provides further detail in this regard .http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/technology/story/2012/02/10/pol-endangered-killer-whales-court.html. Given this recent landmark decision and the ministries overall mandate, DFO has a moral, legal and fiduciary responsibility to do what it takes to protect all marine species from the significant risk that Super Tankers pose, especially those protected under the Species at Risk Act.

Herein lies the question, considering the risks inherent with the Enbridge proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline Project and the subsequent need for Super Tankers to transport the Bitumen Tar Sand to China and the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Why hasn't DFO intervened on behalf of the very marine species they are mandated to protect and the fishing community that relies on them to ensure there is access to an economically viable fishery?

If one breaks down their responsibility to those two basic, yet vital reasons for DFO's being, it is apparent that this Ministry/Department is negligent in its duties!