Tar Sands Pipeline and Tanker Traffic
Enbridge Inc. is proposing to build a pipeline from the tar sands of northern Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. The pipeline would transport tar sands crude from Alberta to Kitimat, where it will be loaded onto supertankers destined for Asia and the US. At the same time, a second pipeline would bring condensate to Alberta, which is used to thin the bitumen so that it can be transported through pipes.
While Enbridge argues that economic benefits to B.C. are worth the risk, claiming 3,000 jobs during construction and 560 permanent jobs. However, these claims of jobs are vast misrepresentations.
More than 200 tankers a year—two to three per week—would weave a hazardous path through an obstacle course of narrow, reef-studded channels and inlets of B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest.
Unless we stop them, hundreds of tankers would soon travel through grey whale migratory routes, through feeding grounds for orca whales, and through the very waters where humpback whales are now. A single oil spill would devastate the coastal communities and First Nations that rely on tourism and fishing.
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez spilled more than 41 million litres (11,000,000 gallons) of oil into Prince William Sound, killing sea birds, otters and contaminating over 200 km of shoreline and more than 100 salmon streams. Over twenty years later, some fisheries remain closed and oil can still be found on beaches.
In 2006, the B.C. ferry Queen of the North struck a rock and sunk, right along the proposed tanker route. Diesel fuel is still leaking from the tanks of the sunken ferry.
This is alarming news for the ecological integrity of the Great Bear Rainforest and the inland waters of B.C.'s North Coast, rich with abundant marine life.
A diverse alliance of First Nations, environmental groups, businesses, fishing associations and local governments has drawn a line in the sand: no oil tankers along B.C.’s north coast!
In March 2010, Coastal First Nations issued a declaration banning tar sands crude oil tanker traffic from their territories. In making the declaration, the Haida, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo, Haisla, Gitga’at and other First Nations exercised their ancestral laws, rights and responsibilities over the waters and lands of their traditional territories
As of December 2011, more than 130 First Nations had also signed on to the The declaration states that they will not allow the Enbridge pipeline or other related tar sands oil projects to cross their lands, territories, watersheds, or the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon. .
In September 2010, to raise awareness of this imminent threat, some of the world’s most renowned nature photographers documented the Great Bear Rainforest in photos, video, audio, and editorial. Learn more about the RAVE and check out the photo gallery of some of the stunning photos from the event.
Between 75-80% of British Columbians are opposed to this project, according to multiple polls dating back to 2005. The Union of B.C. Municipalities is opposed, as are over hundreds of fishing organizations, tourism associations, and coastal businesses. There is increasing international concern over the affects of the Northern Gateway project on B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest.