The Great Bear Rainforest, a global treasure, needs your help now. The Great Bear Rainforest is located on the north coast of British Columbia, Canada and is the largest temperate rainforest left on the planet! It stores the same amount of CO2 produced by 28 million vehicles.
It is home to grizzlies, wolf packs, Pacific white sided dolphins, salmon, towering old growth trees, and hundreds of other plant and animal species. The fascinating and rare white Kermode bear (see photo by Ian McAllister/ www.pacificwild.org ) is mainly found on two Great Bear Rain Forest Islands.
Enbridge, the world's largest pipeline company, wants to build a pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands to the port of Kitimat, B.C., load this crude into huge oil tankers and sail these tankers through the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest and its dangerous waters. Enbridge owns the pipeline that leaked into the Kalamazoo River, Michigan, on June 26, 2010, in which approximately 877,000 gallons (3.4 million litres) ) of crude oil contaminated one of Michigan state's main waterways.
Anybody can Google "Enbridge oil spill history" to see the list of spills already caused by this company. For example,according to the Polaris Institute, an Ottawa advocacy group dedicated to change, Enbridge has a history of oil spills throughout Canada and the U.S.A. In August 2010, Polaris reported that Enbridge has been responsible for 610 oil spills that released more than 5.5 million gallons of oil from 1999 to 2008. Its website states that "The Michigan spill should be a wake up call to those who would allow Enbridge to build 2 pipelines from the Alberta Tar sands to the coast of B.C."
In a Pembina Institute (25 yrs of Sustainable Energy Solutions) report written by Emma Gilchrist, June 1, 2010, it stated that at a meeting in Kitimat, B.C., where the oil tanker port would be built, David Suzuki, one of Canada's leading environmentalists said, "Anyone who tells you there will be no accidents or major spills as a result of this pipeline going thru is either unbelievably stupid or deliberately lying to you". Gilchrist's report goes on to say that: "A spill is inevitable: that message was heard many times Saturday. As we've seen in the Gulf, no technology is foolproof and spills will happen - it's just a matter of when, where and how bad it is".
Gilchrist'sreport also states this "solidarity gathering" was organized by environmental groups and citizens, INCLUDING Coastal First Nations. To the British Columbia First Nations, "an oil spill would be a catastrophic end to a way of life that has endured for 1000's of years". On Nov 4, 2010, there was a B.C. First Nations news release stating that the Heitsuk First Nations people will never allow oil tankers on their traditional territory (in the GBR) Their concerns include risks to the marine environment, food security, livelihood, economy & culture. The elected chief said "We will not change our position, we stand behind our coastal First Nations neighbours and the declaration that we signed that ban tankers on our coast". Ian McAllister, the author of award winning books on the GBR (see http://www.pacificwild.org/) stated that "Enbridge has severely underestimated the resolve and commitment that the Heitsuk First Nations people possess when it involves protecting their traditional territory".
When it comes to jobs, an argument often used by governments to justify an action, the Enbridge proposal will also only create 45-200 full time permanent jobs across the entire route.
There is much support for legislating a ban on oil tanker traffic on B.C's Northern coast in the Canadian Government. In early December, a motion was passed in Canada's House of Commons, Canada's elected government, calling for a legislated ban on oil tankers in the waters near the Great Bear Rainforest. Opposition members united against Prime Minister Harper's Conservative Pary, the only political party in favour of allowing this pipeline to be built to Kitimat and crude oil loaded on to huge oil tankers which would then sail through the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, and the motion passed 143-138. Also, this was only only a motion that was passed. It is a BILL that is needed. On Dec. 14, 1010, Joyce Murray, a member of the opposition Liberal Party introduced a private Member's BILL proposing a legislated ban on these oil tankers carrying Alberta Tar Sands Crude in Northern B.C.'s coastal waters near the Great Bear Rainforest. Getting this Private member's bill passed is a long involved process.
What justifiable reason is there for allowing Enbridge to put B.C. and the Great Bear Rainforest at risk of a devasting Alberta Tar Sands oil spill? What justifiable reason is there for ignoring the majority of B.C.'s citizens (80%) who are against this oil tanker traffic? What justifiable reason is there for allowing this oil tanker traffic when the Canadian Parliament's own Environmental watchdog stated that Canada is not ready to respond to a major oil spill from oil tankers?
People in Canada and around the world, please TAKE ACTION NOW to tell Prime Minister Harper that we want, need and demand legislation to ban oil tankers in the pristine Great Bear Rainforest. Please sign my petition to tell Prime Minister Harper that this legislation is wanted, needed, and demanded to ensure that this Global Treasure, the Great Bear Rainforest, is not threatened by the risk of an oil spill!
We the undersigned urge the Canadian Government to legislate a ban on oil tankers in the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada now. The Great Bear Rainforest is a Canadian treasure to all Canadian peoples, and to all the peoples of the world. It is 1/4 of the world's remaining temperate Rain Forests, and stores the same amount of Co2 that 28 million vehicles produce. It is home to old growth trees, grizzlies, wolves, black bears and the rare Kermode bear. Now an Enbridge proposal to build a pipeline and use supertankers to ship Alberta Tar Sands from Kitimat B.C. through the dangerous water of this glorious Great Bear Rainforest. threatens this magical rainforest. Accidents can happen, in fact many Enbridge pipeline spills have already occurred. The Exxon Valdez oiltanker spill devasted Alaska, and an Enbridge oil tanker spill would devaste the marine environment of the Great Bear Rainforest. Tar sands oil is even more difficult to clean up because it produces 3 times the carbon emissions of typical petroleum products and is much more laden with heavy metals, sulfur and other pollutants. This threatens not only the Great Bear Rainforest's precious wildlife, but also First Nations people on their traditional territory - their food security, livelihood, economy and culture. The B.C. Government may allow a lifting of a moratorium on oil tankers on the Northern coast of B.C. that has been in effect for 38 years. Therfore, we are asking you to enact legislation that bans oil tankers in the North Coast of British Columbia, legislation that will stop the risk we do not wish to take.
Thank you very much for your attention on this very important issue.