Optional Lesson Plans Highlight Northern Gateway Risks

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NORTHERN GATEWAY PIPELINE
This Jan. 10, 2012 photo shows the Douglas Channel, the proposed termination point for an oil pipeline in the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project at Kitamaat, British Columbia, Canada. Rio Tinto Alcans smelter is at left and the town of Kitamaat at upper right. The fear of oil spills is especially acute in this pristine corner of northwest British Columbia, with its snowcapped mountains and deep ocean inlets. People here still remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989, and oil is still leaking f | AP

The B.C. Teachers' Federation is offering new lesson plans that highlight the dangers of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

The optional materials include a poster with the slogan, "What we stand to lose with pipelines and supertankers" above images of wildlife and rivers.

BCTF vice president Glen Hansman says the lessons could be part of units on current affairs or the environment.

"The Northern Gateway project is definitely a current event that students and parents and teachers and other members of the communities have been involved with," he said.

"We've had a lot of teachers and schools as a whole involved in the hearings, a lot of the protests in northern B.C. and also down in the Lower Mainland."

Hansman says the lessons are designed to encourage critical thinking about the twin pipeline from Alberta to northwest B.C., from where the oil product would be loaded onto tankers bound for Asia.

"We understand what motivates Enbridge to push the pipeline through, and we wanted to give our students the negative part of if there's a spill," said teacher Michelle Hamilton, the Kelowna teacher who created the plan.

Hamilton says students are encouraged to form their own opinions about the controversial project.

But some parents are concerned the subject could be politically motivated.

"I would certainly hope it's not arbitrarily based to one political side," said parent Bill Mounce.

"I would hope that everything is scientifically defensible, and that in itself is very difficult because it's such an emotional issue." Hansman says the BCTF voted to oppose the Northern Gateway project, and will be participating in an anti-Enbridge sit-in at the B.C. legislature later this month.

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