The public hearings on the Northern Gateway Pipeline project have been underway for a month now, yet the storm of controversy they have triggered rages on.
While the federal government rails against "environmental and other radical groups" who dare to question the project, First Nations, whole communities and thousands of individual citizens are queuing up to voice their concerns — concerns we share.
Why? Because the twinned pipeline would place a huge oily target on one of the world's most richly diverse marine areas.
Some call it the "Great Bear Sea," others the Galapagos of the North. Imagine hundreds of tankers criss-crossing this area each year: with condensate bound for Kitimat and bitumen bound for California and Asia.
Imagine the hundreds of jobs, existing and potential, that could be lost in the event of a spill along this unique coastline—jobs that depend on healthy ecosystems and the critical services of food, clean air and clean water that would be compromised by a spill.
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Remember too that this is unceded territory, and that the First Nations who claim it are almost unanimously opposed to the pipeline.
These pipeline and tanker risks are just symptoms, however, of a much greater malaise: our evermore costly dependence on fossil fuels.
We and David Suzuki have made these points in the national media and we will continue to draw attention to these concerns in our presentations to the Joint Review Panel on the pipeline.
We will also continue to fight for fair, open and scientifically credible environmental assessments and policy-making so that Canadians have a real say in key decisions about their health and quality of life.
Most of this work focuses on the long-game—helping Canadians build a pipeline of solutions to our costly dependence on climate-changing fossil fuels.
And this work spans many fields. In closed-containment salmon farming we have worked with First Nations and a broad coalition to successfully pioneer efforts to include the costs to the environment as part of the debate.
Another project, Canadians for Climate Action, has worked with provincial governments to encourage a veritable "Race to the Top". It is also encouraging dialogues on the topic with new Canadian communities, including those of Chinese and South Asian descent.
Our Trottier Energy Futures Plan goes further: partnering with the Canadian Academy of Engineering to develop a sustainable energy strategy for Canada that would allow us to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
This is an extraordinary partnership with a transformative goal—the sort of endeavour Canada badly needs to get at root causes of its pipeline risks and rancour.
If you agree with our root-and-branch approach, please support us. And if you have a moment to do more, write your Member of Parliament about the need for a sustainable energy strategy that really serves the national interest.