Misty MacDuffee and Chris Genovali, Times Colonist
April 26, 2014
In the middle of the Easter long weekend, the federal government published a notice in the Canada Gazette that it intends to down-list the status of North Pacific humpback whales.
Although the status of humpback whales is one of the few obstacles muddling Harper’s forthcoming June decision on Northern Gateway, the June 2011 re-assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, released in the middle of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel hearings, led to this announcement.
There are outstanding questions about the scientific reliability and sufficiency of the information the committee used to make the determination to down-list these animals. The proposed change in status would strip humpback whales of their legal right to critical habitat, thus making it acceptable to displace them from feeding grounds, degrade their waters with increased noise, dismiss mortality from ship strikes and increase the exposure risk to oil spills — all threats that accompany both the Enbridge Northern Gateway and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain tanker routes.
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