The National Energy Board and killer whales, on As It Happens

Raincoast’s Misty MacDuffee outlines the implication of NEB’s latest recommendation to approve Trans Mountain.

Killer whales spyhop with a tanker in the background and population viability maps in the foreground.

While we are glad that the NEB recognizes that the project will have significant adverse effects on Southern Resident killer whales, we don’t agree that Trans Mountain’s purported benefits are worth the significant increase in the risk of extinction for this endangered population.

In this interview Misty outlines that while oil spills remain a clear risk, the effects from increased vessel traffic, i.e. noise and disturbance, are a certainty. The suggested mitigation measures with regard to noise that the federal government has referred to in the aftermath of the NEB announcement, e.g. slowing down vessels, are experimental. With the benefits to Southern Resident killer whales largely untested, it is unknown whether the reductions in vessel speed would be biologically relevant for the Southern Residents.

The question remains; is it legal to proceed with the Trans Mountain expansion if the impacts to the endangered Southern Residents can’t be mitigated?

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Misty MacDuffee is a biologist and Wild Salmon Program Director

Misty MacDuffee, Wild Salmon Program Director

Misty is a biologist and the Program Director of Raincoast’s Wild Salmon Program. Her most recent publication, with co-authors at Raincoast & the University of Victoria, identifies the importance of habitat mosaics for fish in the Fraser River estuary. She is dedicated to the long term survival of finned, furred, and feathered creatures.