Sep 082018

News re the Kinder Morgan / TransMountain pipeline,

2018-08-30  VICTORY: We’ve defeated Trans Mountain, from EcoJustice (the lawyers who argued the case)

elicited:  This was a big mistake and has only placed our communities at greater risk. What are people thinking?  Seriously.

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The Salish Sea (Georgia Strait) is at the end of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Vancouver is on the “West Coast” of this inland sea. What goes into the waters around Vancouver is carried by currents to islands in the Sea, and to the East Coast of Vancouver Island, which is the east coast of the Salish Sea.

People are increasingly angry.

– – the condition of the Sea continues to deteriorate,  it goes well beyond the few small, local examples in these 2 postings:

2018-05-16   Water: Bowser residents protest marine sewage outfall plan

2018-04-27   Maybe this can be of assistance re the pipeline? Chief Maureen Thomas


As a society, we seem to be incapable of reversing trend-lines, or of learning from the lessons of other people who have pretty well destroyed their own once-productive inland sea.

We keep on trying!

2018-08-25   “Salish Sea”, poster for book event, Sept 24


My communication to the Scientist who wrote,

This (the quashing of the approval for the Pipeline) was a big mistake and has only placed our communities at greater risk. What are people thinking?  Seriously.

The court found that Cabinet’s approval of the pipeline couldn’t stand because it was based on a flawed NEB (National Energy Board) report.

The NEB actually acknowledged that tanker traffic associated with the pipeline would threaten the Southern Resident orcas, but then it ultimately decided to exclude this information in its final report. Then, last week, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the government’s approval of the project violated its legal obligations under the Species at Risk Act.

The court struck down the government’s approval of the project.   I understand it this way:  the original granting of approval was not done in accordance with the Laws that are supposed to govern – – in effect, it was done outside the law.   

As I view it, if the marine traffic levels, noise and pollution are driving the orcas into oblivion here, other species are likewise on the ropes.

I toured the Marine facility at Deep Bay;  I was told that native oysters no longer exist in the wild here, or if they do, the numbers are miniscule, and you won’t find them.   They grow oysters at the facility  using a non-native species.

Because of acidification of the ocean,  the oysters cannot be placed in the wild until they reach some level of development.  Premature release means death because the shells aren’t thick enough to protect the animal.  I understood from the conversation, that the native population is pretty well extinguished for that reason, and maybe some over-fishing.

You will know that ocean acidification is a climate change issue.   The pipeline expansion is to accommodate tar sands expansion.  Which is a climate change issue.

I don’t get, knowing where we are (orcas and oysters), why we would consciously say, “Let’s do more of this!”

It’s kinda suicidal.   I am laughing, thinking of the cartoon nature of it.

Not here, but in Bequoia (the Caribbean, St Vincent & The Grenadines), I toured a humble, basic home that a native person established, to save giant sea turtles from extinction in the waters where he fished and dove for food, as a boy.

You probably know:  the Salish Sea is basically an inland Sea.  On the internet, it’s easy enough to find examples of the tragic destruction of inland seas, by human beings.

Expansion of the pipeline, use of the huge tankers,  a many fold increase in the number of tankers and tugboats,  to accommodate   2018-02-27   Canada’s largest integrated energy company has filed an application for a massive new oilsands project defying expectations of slowing growth in the oilsands, Financial Post   is high-risk and foolhardy, in my estimation.   

A “massive” new production project of one of the dirtiest fossil fuels has serious implications for climate change.

Expansion of the pipeline with its increased pressure on species such as the orcas, will push the orcas past the tipping point for survival,  the same as happened to the native oysters.

There is another factor, not much mentioned:  expansion of the tar sands means a huge demand for more electricity (the mineable tar sands are at increasingly lower depths).   The electricity need is to be met by SMR’s  (not-Small Modular Reactors (i.e. Nuclear reactors)).

Tar sands production consumes and poisons large volumes of water.  Nuclear reactors are dependent upon large amounts of cold water.

After 50+ years, the nuclear industry is still at a loss for disposal of existing accumulations of high-level radioactive waste.

People in both Alberta and Saskatchewan rejected nuclear reactors because the electricity is so expensive.   SMR’s don’t change that.  The public will pay.

The industry is dependent upon the public purse, the generosity of tax-payers.

I think we’re going down a dead-end road, with tar sands expansion, nuclear reactors, and pipeline expansion.   It’s a promotion of climate change, species extinction, degradation of water and impoverishment, in the end.   In the short term, a few people (for example, executives on multi-million dollar salaries) will get richer yet.

The underlying assumption is that we are incapable of finding alternatives to the tar sands.

I think we are capable of creative problem-solving.    Surely, we know that the status quo is hardly acceptable.

My response:

Did Federal Court make a big mistake?   The Court would have examined the evidence and arguments presented.  And weighed those in light of what the Law says, and how it is has been interpreted over time (the case law).

Has the Court ruling placed our communities at greater risk?   The contrary.

What are people thinking?   I give people a lot of credit for “thinking”!

Best wishes,



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