The white Kermode is a subspecies of the American Black Bear which resides in the Great Bear Rainforest on the west coast of Canada. Commonly referred to as the Spirit Bear, this subspecies is the by-product of a recessive gene which causes 1 out of every 10 bear cubs to be born with white fur. Approximately, 95% of the Spirit Bear's diet consist of salmon unlike its black bear brothers who rely less on marine life. Throughout the years, a number of individuals have worked rigorously to protect the habitat of the Spirit Bear from various threats. Sadly, this wildlife treasure is under threat once again!
This time the threat comes from Enbridge's planned route for the Northern Gateway pipeline. This pipeline will ship oil from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C - a route that will end in the Great Bear Rainforest. This will generate oil tanker traffic through the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest - the last intact habitat of the spirit bear. Should an oil spill occur in this area, the results would be catastrophic for the highly endangered Kermode, that numbers fewer than 400. Not only will there be destruction of the population’s habitat, but their primary food source -salmon- will also be depleted. This will likely result in the eventual extinction of the species.
Enbridge has been responsible for no fewer than 800 oil spills from 1999 to 2010. There intentions are pure, but no matter how many safety procedures are put in place, it only takes one mistake for an irreversible ecological tragedy to occur - just like the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. And given two major vessels have sank in the same treacherous channels these very same oil tankers will travel, the risk to the economy and the environment outweighs the positives.
There is a safe, economically viable alternative to Enbridge's planned route for the pipeline. Today, there is an existing pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver which allows ongoing tanker traffic to be routed from the Port of Vancouver to points overseas. Since the intent of the government is to sell this oil to Asian markets, why not just use the Vancouver Port?
The Canadian government will say that this project's main objective is job creation. However, we can create jobs and save the spirit bear, along with its globally important ecosystem. We just need to shift the route. And we can accomplish this if every Canadian takes the time to stand up and be counted: for balance, for the economy, for the spirit bear, for Canada - now and for generations to come.
We the undersigned are asking you to reroute the Northern Gateway Pipeline to preserve the Spirit Bears habitat. This rare bear species is a true Canadian treasure. Today, Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline threatens to undue much of the progress that has been made through the years, by sending oil tankers through the Spirit Bear’s last intact habitat. With an existing pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver and ongoing tanker traffic being routed from the Port of Vancouver to points overseas, there is a safe, economically viable alternative to building a new pipeline. If the Exxon Valdez tanker oil spill in Alaska or the BP oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico taught us anything, it's that unthinkable accidents happen and, when they do, the consequences can be both devastating and beyond repair. Given the spirit bear’s dependence on its marine ecosystem – salmon, the region’s lifeblood, especially – any oil spill will almost certainly wipe out the genetically unique subspecies. I kindly request that you please represent me by shifting the Northern Gateway. I thank you for your time and kindly request that you take the necessary action to protect this Canadian treasure.
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