The risk to this place posed by Enbridge's Northern Gateway project is both serious and unmanageable. I have sailed along the Great Bear's channels. Even in a calm season it is apparent, those waters are as treacherous as they are precious. It is not a question of if an accident will happen, but a question of when and how bad.
On May 26, 300 scientists from across Canada sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him, in the strongest possible terms, to reject the Joint Review Panel's report recommending approval of the Northern Gateway oil pipeline project. Today this letter will be sent. Will it influence the decision Harper ultimately makes?
We are dismayed, together with our eminent Canadians for the Great Bear and thousands of others by the report of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel (JRP) which regrettably recommends the approval of the Enbridge pipeline proposal. Everyone who depends on this ecosystem, from fishing and tourism industries to First Nations communities, would be affected. We have seen, in the case of the Exxon Valdez disaster, that the damage will be profound and long-lasting. Have we really not yet learned this hard lesson? When something is priceless, you do not let anyone place it at risk.
We've seen it before. As close to home as Alaska, where the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill devastated wildlife, communities and cost a generation its livelihoods. As close to home as Michigan, where an Enbridge pipeline leaked 800 thousand barrels of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River. It is still being cleaned up, three years later.