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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The more things change...

Well, a couple of days have passed since the 'exciting' election on Monday, and the buzz is finally wearing off. While Canada woke up Tuesday to the same government as before, we have a brand new opposition and have finally joined most other industrialized democracies in the world (with apologies here to the United States) in electing a Green Party member to Parliament. I would love to talk about what all this will mean for the environment, but others have already covered this both here in terms of climate, and here in more general terms. Heed the bottom line in both these accounts; the environment, the climate and the ocean need your help more than ever. Stay engaged, dear readers, and above all (in the words of my favorite science fiction author):

-Douglas Adams, author and environmentalist, 1952-2001

That said, there are still some pretty daunting environmental issues facing our coast. The recent rupture of the Plains Rainbow pipeline for example, and the resulting environmental and human health impacts, are a sobering reminder that accidents still frequently occur in the industry. Together with last year's Enbridge pipeline rupture, which spilled 18,000 barrels into the Kalamazoo River, this accident highlights the potential dangers of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta's Tar Sands to the BC coast. Cleanup of last Saturday's spill of around 28,000 barrels, covering several small water bodies along the relatively flat, accessible pipeline right-of-way was at around seven percent on Wednesday. Tankers proposed to receive oil from the Northern Gateway pipeline would carry up to two million barrels each through some of the most treacherous waters on Canada's Pacific coast. As mentioned in a previous post, the Enbridge strategy for cleaning up spills in the area leaves much to be desired.

But there is some good news at the provincial level at least. BC Premier, Christy Clark (coming soon to a ballot near you), announced yesterday that she supports a ban on cosmetic pesticides. As the ban has long been supported by the provincial NDP party, this may be a good opportunity for BC to do away with these harmful and unnecessary chemicals once and for all.

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