Environment debate should be the focus

by Chris Genovali
Saanich News
May 8, 2009

The May 1 News editorial: “Let’s get down to business” rightly laments that “we are less than two weeks away from election day in B.C. and we’re still waiting for the campaign to present significant debate about issues of real importance to voters.”  This is especially true when it comes to the environment.

It’s regrettable the carbon tax has become such a political lightning rod as it has diverted attention from the real issues at hand such as substantively addressing climate change, protecting our coast from a potential Exxon Valdez-style disaster and halting the decline of the lifeblood of B.C.’s coastal ecosystems – wild salmon.

Yes, we do need a carbon pricing system, but one that is aligned with a suite of policies and initiatives that work in concert, not in contradiction.

There is a stark disconnect between the B.C. government’s implementation of the carbon tax and its continued support for intensive fossil fuel development.

Backing everything from offshore oil drilling to coalbed methane development, the province is also pushing for the revocation of the 35-year oil-tanker moratorium on our coast and the construction of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline into Kitimat.  B.C.’s marine mammal and marine bird populations, as well as wild salmon stocks, will be made vulnerable as a result.

The Enbridge pipeline, which would ship more than 500,000 barrels of crude per day, is the linchpin in the government’s “energy corridor” concept.

Oil tankers at least as big as the Exxon Valdez would ply B.C.’s rocky northern coastline on a daily basis, entering Douglas Channel within eyesight of where the Queen of the North struck Gil Island and sank in 2006.

Chris Genovali
Executive Director
Raincoast Conservation