An oil spill that occurred off the coast of Vancouver is being held by environmental groups as proof of the dangers of developing a nearby pipeline.
The spill, which occurred in the Howe Sound region, spewed hundreds of litres of diesel into the water, threatening marine wildlife in the area.
“When spills happen, they can devastate our coastline. Oil spills directly impact our economy, culture, and community who have lived off our homelands for thousands of years,” said Squamish Nation councillor and spokesperson Dustin Rivers in a joint statement. “The risk of spills is always present in our minds, and our communities feel the consequences.”
Howe Sound is the un-relinquished territory of the Squamish Nation, which has never given its consent for oil tankers to enter.
Environmental groups have voiced their support of the Squamish Nation, as well as local communities that have been affected by the spill. The same groups are warning that the spill is just a glimpse of things to come once the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline project comes to fruition. The project calls for a 700% tanker increase.
“The oil spill in Howe Sound will have devastating impacts on the resident orca and salmon populations that our Indigenous cultures are dependent on,” commented Tsleil-Waututh Nation member William George. “Just this month we saw orcas around the Sunshine Coast. The Kinder Morgan tanker increase puts Indigenous culture, ceremony and food at too great a risk.”
“Today’s spill is another heartbreaking reminder that it’s not a question of if spills will happen, it’s when, where, and how much,” Leadnow campaigner Jolan Bailey said.
“As Justin Trudeau’s plane flies over Howe Sound on the eve of his town hall in Nanaimo tomorrow, we hope he glimpses the sheen of diesel on the waters below. Today’s oil spill foreshadows what’s to come if Kinder Morgan is allowed to bring 400 tankers to the coast each year,” remarked Greenpeace Canada Oil Campaign head Jessica Wilson. “The accident is a stark and gut-wrenching reminder of why we need more protection for critical species such as salmon and herring and more scientific study of spill response readiness on the coast.”
“This is another reminder of what is at stake if we allow Canada’s west coast to be turned into a super highway for crude oil exports,” added Stand.earth campaigner Sven Biggs. “Howe Sound is a natural wonder. Places like this need protection but instead Justin Trudeau is threatening them with disaster.”
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