"The Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline.
Too many communities and too many jobs would be put at risk." Justin Trudeau
A few days ago Prince William and Princess Katherine had to cancel a trip to the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia because of heavy rain. The missed the opportunity to visit a remarkable and unique wilderness ecosystem which includes bears which are white even though they are genetically black.
You will recall that there was pressure to push a pipeline carrying oil called Northern Gateway through this pristine wilderness. When our current rime Minister Trudeau was the opposition leader he spoke against that happening. Ultimately Northern Gateway was turned down.
Then we heard this week that the Liberal government has approved in principle the Pacific Northwest LNG (liquid natural gas) pipeline, although that approval includes a hefty list of provisions which must be addressed. And a portion would go through the Great Bear rainforest. This pipeline proposal has support from the BC government and some First Nations groups. But there is still considerable concern, as the CBC has reported:
In a letter addressed to federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna 90 scientists and policy experts said the proposed plant would make it "virtually impossible" for B.C. to meet its GHG [green house gas] reduction targets, a claim B.C.'s environment minister says is unfounded and "doesn't meet reality."
Some First Nations living in the area have also raised concerns that the terminal will damage local eel grass and salmon habitats, food crucial to their livelihood. A treaty penned by 50 Indigenous groups in Canada and the northern U.S. this week, with a pledge to fight all proposals to build more pipelines, will also be a potential hurdle for all energy infrastructure proponents.
A number of faith groups including the United Church of Canada have raised concerns about the construction of pipelines in British Columbia. They stand in solidarity with First Nations and will likely continue to do so. We all need to understand that governments must make decisions which stimulate and support economic growth, but not at any cost, and certainly not without the support of those who call regions and habitats home.