Two take a stand against Northern Gateway pipeline

The National Energy Board has heard from two environmentalists opposed to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline

The National Energy Board has heard from two environmentalists who’ve clearly said they oppose Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline across northern B.C.

Not that it will make much difference. Whatever the NEB decides or recommends now can be overruled by the federal cabinet, noted Mike Gildersleeve, former Maple Ridge Green party candidate.

Gildersleeve said he told the hearing that there’s a risk to oil pipelines on both land and ocean and that people are trying to protect the resources they have and that one spill could have serious impacts on First Nations.

“You don’t clean up this stuff,” he said.

It’s also time to start moving towards a green economy that uses cleaner energy.

“We really need that community and public debate. It’s not there.”

“We have a wholesale dismantling of ministries. DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) can’t even respond.”

Gildersleeve appeared at the NEB’s Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel hearing in Vancouver, Jan. 16.

The hearings on submissions took place in Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre on Burrard Street, while the public could only watch the proceedings on TV from other hotels, blocks away.

Gildersleeve understood the security concerns, but also said the topic needs public discussion.

“There’s so much value in hearing what’s being said by people who come there … all of it very sincere and heartfelt.”

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Michael Sather gave a piece of his mind to the board Jan. 14 and focused on climate change.

Sather said 98 per cent of Canadians recognize that climate is changing.

But government response to “this evolving catastrophe” has been “weak and ineffective,” adding that the federal government and some provinces are “willfully blind” in the rush to accelerate the use of fossil fuels, such as oil and gas.

The MLA, who was briefly kicked out of the NDP caucus because of his opposition to the Tsawwassen First Nations land settlement that involved exclusion of Agricultural Land Reserve property, said people want growth, but are not counting the costs of climate change.

He cited a Swiss insurance company, which says the world economy is threatened by climate change, while people continue to deny that possibility.

“What worries me the most is that we are not really even trying to combat global warming.

“We need to find a way to hugely reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and we need to do it now.”

He acknowledged, though, that means reduction of things made with fossil fuels. People may thing that’s too radical and impossible.

“But it is possible.

“We can live lifestyles that result in us walking more gently upon the earth.  And I would bet anything that we would actually find some of those changes refreshing and enjoyable.”

Sather said changing his own lifestyle would be difficult.  “I consume a lot of fossil fuels. I absolutely love visiting the tropics and visit there most years.”

The choice to go greener is, on the face of it, more difficult the more financial resources one has. But as Robbie Robertson sang, some tough choices have to be made.”