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Vancouver Sun, May 13, 2014

Re: Humpback whales are not pawns, May 1

Several aspects of Andrea Ahrens’ opinion piece need amending, from the putative independence of COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) to the claimed transparency of the decision-making process that led to the down-listing of humpbacks.

However, the most curious thing needing amending is the author’s affiliation, which is conspicuously absent from her article. Ahrens works for Stantec, the consulting firm serving as the technical advisers for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oilsands pipeline and oil tanker mega-projects. In addition, Ahrens was the Stantec employee who produced Enbridge’s scientifically superficial evidence on humpback whales for the Northern Gateway federal review hearings.

Given these facts, it is not surprising Ahrens would pen an article trumpeting the down-listing of B.C.’s humpback whales. And what companies and Stantec clients stand to benefit most from the controversial humpback whale down-listing? Enbridge and Kinder Morgan, of course. The irony of Ahrens’ contention that humpback whales are not pawns, as she deliberately and simultaneously exploits them to the advantage of her employers and clients, is inescapable.

CHRIS GENOVALI, Executive Director, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Sidney

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