Environmentally dangerous projects fly under radar

Environmentally dangerous projects fly under radar

Writer says there are serious loopholes that need to be addressed and gives three examples.


There is a concerning trend for environmentally dangerous projects and practices to fly under the radar of regulations and public scrutiny. I can think of three examples that should raise alarm bells:

1- American petroleum products barges on the coast — called ATB or articulated transport barges — carefully engineered to be just under the tonnage that would define them as oil tankers, thereby avoiding regulations and restrictions that go along with the designation. We have already seen a serious spill with the Nathan Stewart near Bella Coola last year while the Jack Schearer incident was a very close call when it lost its barge a few months ago. The proposed moratorium on oil tankers on the coast would not apply to those undersized tankers. The coast takes all the risks and there is not an ounce of benefit for any of us.

2- Propane terminal in Prince Rupert. Being on Port Authority property, it has not required any public consultation or environmental assessment. Be prepared to see long trains full of propane along our waterways, sitting for extended time amidst populated areas like Terrace, Smithers, etc.

3- Three coal mines (two in the Upper Skeena and one in Telkwa) which fall under the Small Mines Act and do not require public involvement and environmental assessment.

Those three examples can have very dangerous consequences. Obviously there are serious loopholes that need to be addressed.

I am thankful for the environmental groups to alert us to those issues and I am most thankful for the many First Nations who are courageously standing up for their lands and the future generations. The rest of us need to stand along with them.

Josette Wier