A 36-inch natural gas transmission pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge exploded around 5:45 p.m. in rural land north of Prince George, British Columbia on Tuesday, the Canadian pipeline company said in a media release.
The blast forced 100 people to evacuate from the nearby Lheidli T'enneh First Nation as a precaution, Enbridge said.
"I was able to see it very clearly from the hill," Prince George resident Dhruv Desai commented to the Canadian Press. "It was huge even from this distance."
Big fire north of #Princegeorge. Smoke up to 10k feet. https://t.co/mdbgjbnzvd— Greg N (@Greg N)1539132528.0
There are no reports of injuries as a result of the blast and most residents have been allowed to return home. The line has been shut down and an investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the incident, the company said.
Chief Dominic Frederick of Lheidli T'enneh First Nation, who posted video footage of the explosion onto Facebook, told CBC News that the explosion happened only about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the reserve.
"We sort of trained for it ... because of the wildfires," Frederick added about the speedy evacuation. "Everything was just left behind."
Frederick told the Associated Press that Enbridge contacted him soon after the explosion.
"They had told me there was gas building up in the underground. For some reason or another the gas had stopped flowing and it built up and it just exploded," he said.
What a shot! This image of Tuesday’s @Enbridge natural gas pipeline explosion was sent to us by @GlobalBC viewer Tr… https://t.co/pPo7iV8iPN— Sarah MacDonald (@Sarah MacDonald)1539189139.0
The blast may lead to a natural gas shortage to homes in British Columbia as well as bordering American states. According to the Associated Press, the damaged Enbridge pipeline connects to the Northwest Pipeline system, which feeds Puget Sound Energy in Washington State and Northwest Natural Gas in Portland.
On Wednesday, Enbridge said in a media release that it received the National Energy Board's approval to restart its 30-inch line located in the same right of way as the impacted 36-inch line.
"This restart approval follows a comprehensive integrity assessment that evaluated a number of potential impacts," the company said. "Enbridge looked for evidence of damage to the pipe, geotechnical and ground disturbance, and other potential integrity issues on the 30-inch line."
Enbridge will gradually bring the line's pressure up to approximately 80 percent of normal operating capacity.
"Once this process is safely completed, some much-need capacity will be restored for our customers," it added.
By Andy Rowell
The campaign against the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline escalated Saturday when Indigenous leaders from across Canada and the U.S. came together to inaugurate Kwekwecnewtxw—"the place to watch from"—whilst others started building a traditional Coast Salish "Watch House" near the pipeline route.
Although the Watch House stands on the line of exclusion zone surrounding the pipeline, the local community have vowed to not move from the tower until Kinder Morgan is defeated.
Building of the Watch House is expected to finish Monday. It will then become a focal point for resistance to the pipeline, which if completed, is expected to bring some 400 tankers a year to the ecologically and culturally sensitive coastline.
The highly controversial $7.4-billion project was approved by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government in November 2016. It has subsequently been challenged in court by First Nations, the City of Burnaby, the City of Vancouver and the BC government.
And Saturday the local community was out in force. Some 10,000 local supporters marched to the site in solidarity. Speaker after speaker then condemned the pipeline, criticizing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's approval of the pipeline "a major step backwards" in both their relations with the Federal Government and also for the climate.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip told the crowd: "We are gathering today to send a clear message to Kinder Morgan and Justin Trudeau that indigenous peoples across North America and British Columbians will never let this pipeline be built. I call on everyone in the crowd today and watching from home to join us in escalating action to stop Kinder Morgan in the coming days. Rachel Notley, we are not in the least bit intimidated by your desperate threats and we will not stop!"
Will George, a Tsleil-Waututh member also addressed the assembled protesters, who included members of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake, Athabaska Chipewyan Nation and Ihanktonwan Dakota and Chickasaw Nations.
George said: "My ancestors built Kwekwecnewtxw—'a place to watch from'—when danger threatened our people. Danger threatens our people now, as Kinder Morgan tries to send hazardous diluted bitumen through our territory. Today we build our own watch house to protect the Salish Sea and the people who depend on it."
George added that: "We're going to stop Kinder Morgan. We're going to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline," he said. "We're continuing to send that message that we're not going to allow this pipeline to be built.
George finished by stating that he will be staying in the Watch House "as long as it takes."
Autumn Peltier, a 13-year old internationally recognized water ambassador from Wikwemikong First Nation in northern Ontario, spoke on behalf of the 150 First Nations and U.S. Tribes that have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion in opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline, as well as Keystone XL and Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline.
"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said we can protect the water, the coasts, and the climate while still building new tar sands pipelines like Kinder Morgan. But I came here to join with other water protectors to say that he's wrong," she said.
Not only is Trudeau tripping up on Canada's climate commitments, but also on commitments he gave to communities back in 2013, when he said: "Governments might grant permits, but only communities can grant permission."
As the Other98 has pointed out, this is a protest that could go global. "There are clear echoes of Standing Rock in the fight, which has been indigenous-led from the start."
And if Kinder Morgan turns into Standing Rock 2, then Trudeau has a huge problem on his hands.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Oil Change International.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
Anishinaabe economist and writer Winona LaDuke identifies two types of economies, grounded in different ways of seeing. Speaking in Vancouver recently, she characterized one as an "extreme extractive economy" fed by exploitation of people and nature. The second is a "regenerative economy" based on an understanding of the land and our relationship to it.
We now go to extremes to access fossil fuels. Hydraulic fracturing shatters bedrock to release previously inaccessible gas, requiring large amounts of water made so toxic through the process that it must be disposed of in deep wells. We extract bitumen from Alberta's oilsands using techniques that emit more than twice as many greenhouse gases as average North American crudes. The Pembina Institute reports that 1.3 trillion liters of fluid tailings have accumulated in open ponds in Northern Alberta since oilsands operations started in 1967.
Human innovation has made it possible to extract less-accessible fossil fuels, and that's provided jobs. But environmentally, socially and economically, this extreme behavior can't continue. We need new options. We must innovate and create jobs in a regenerative economy.
In her talk, LaDuke said, "The reality is that the next economy requires re-localization of food and energy systems, because it's more efficient, it's more responsible, it employs your people and you eat better."
Re-localization is happening in communities across Canada.
The David Suzuki Foundation's new, nationwide Charged Up program is collecting stories to help inspire people to take on renewable energy projects in their communities.
In Oxford County, Ontario, local farmers, community members, the Six Nations of the Grand River and Prowind Canada launched Gunn's Hill Wind Farm in 2016. It produces enough electricity to power almost 7,000 homes.
Miranda Fuller, head of the Oxford Community Energy Co-operative, said the project helps connect people with the power they use and gives them a stake in their energy system. Its revenues are helping stabilize rural farm incomes, which helps protect local food systems and the community's way of life.
The project created about 200 jobs through development and construction. Some revenue goes to a community vibrancy fund and to student bursaries aimed at giving young people opportunities.
Fuller makes an important observation: Community-led renewable energy projects provide a way for people to become active producers of energy rather than just passive ratepayers or consumers.
Oxford County became the second local government in Canada, after Vancouver, to adopt a commitment to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Gunn's Hill makes up 15 percent of Oxford County's goal.
Indigenous communities are also innovating and leading on renewables.
Chief Patrick Michell of the Nlaka'pamux Nation in BC said meeting energy needs in concert with nature resonates with his nation's values. Nlaka'pamux is working toward food and energy self-sufficiency. The Kanaka Bar Indian Band, one of 17 bands in the nation, has solar projects and has partnered with Innergex Renewable Energy and others on a run-of-river project to generate power and income.
"What you do to the land, you do to yourself," Michell said, quoting a traditional saying.
He said his people have been food and energy self-sufficient for thousands of years, but recently his community has seen changes in weather patterns, water flows, precipitation, forest fires and ecosystems, often related to climate change.
Kanaka Bar is building more energy-efficient homes and retrofitting existing houses to reduce energy needs. That costs money up front, but Patrick said he's seen some of his neighbors' energy bills plummet.
Neighboring communities are asking about Kanaka Bar's experience, and Michell is happy to see the work rippling out. For him, these efforts represent a return to the land, to values that will help his community become more self-sufficient, vibrant and resilient.
LaDuke said, "Keep your eye on where you're going. Operate not out of a place of fear, but a place of hope." Good advice for us all, as we celebrate the efforts of these communities and look to put the lessons they've learned into action across Canada.
Let's focus on hope. On climate solutions. On renewable energy led by communities like Oxford County, Kanaka Bar and others rising to the challenge to create a regenerative economy for everyone.
All nine community water systems on Lytton First Nation land in BC have been under boil water advisories at one time or another. Now the First Nation is taking an innovative approach to resolving its drinking water problems. It's working with public and private organizations and universities in a "circle of trust" to identify challenges and test solutions in real-world conditions. The approach came about as the result of a partnership with RES'EAU-WaterNET, a strategic research network under the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Because problems with drinking water systems vary, RES'EAU-WaterNET works with communities like Lytton First Nation to gain insights early on in the process. With Lytton First Nation's water treatment operators at the center of an "innovation circle," they and experts from government, universities, consulting firms, water companies and contractors identified and piloted several options for providing affordable, sustainable water treatment solutions. Community members, including elders and youth, were also included in discussions.
A lab at the University of British Columbia built a mobile, state-of-the-art water treatment plant that can fit on the back of a truck. With help from UBC students, it was up and running at the Lytton First Nation in 2016, providing filtration and disinfection for water from Nickeyeah Creek.
It's one of several innovative, much-needed approaches to meeting the federal government's promise to end all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations communities by 2021. As commendable as the government's commitment is, new research shows it's falling short on progress.
A David Suzuki Foundation report, Reconciling Promises and Reality: Clean Drinking Water for First Nations, finds the government failing on eight of 14 indicators developed to assess its progress.
Lack of clean water in Indigenous communities is astonishing in a country where many of us take that for granted. "Right now, we have elders going down to the lake, chopping holes in the ice to bring water to their households. Right now," Assembly of First Nations Manitoba regional chief Kevin Hart said at a Vancouver symposium, Reconciliation through Sustainable Water Management, in early February.
As of Jan. 23, there were 91 long-term drinking water advisories affecting First Nations communities on public systems. (Adding short-term advisories brings the number to 147, as of Oct. 31, 2017.) Over the past two years, the government has lifted 32 advisories, but 22 new ones were added over the same time, illustrating the complexity of the problem.
Part of the problem is inadequate funding. The 2016 federal budget included $1.8 billion in new funding to help resolve the crisis, but a December 2017 Parliamentary Budget Officer report found these new investments into waste and water infrastructure represent just 70 percent of what is needed to end all First Nations drinking water advisories by 2021.
Meeting the government's commitment will require a number of measures. Ensuring that First Nations lead the processes and have the tools, money and training needed to operate and maintain systems, and recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach won't address the varying needs of different communities are among the first steps.
The report recommends a number of ways to improve processes, including the 12 recommendations from the Foundation's report released a year ago, Glass Half Empty? Year 1 Progress Toward Resolving Drinking Water Advisories in Nine First Nations in Ontario, that still apply.
It also recommends that government invest in and share successful models of First Nations-led approaches to resolving drinking water advisories, including developing and implementing source water protection plans. It should ensure systems are upgraded quickly and effectively, with adequate and transparent funding provided for operations and maintenance. Legislation and regulations should also be developed, with First Nations as equal partners, to hold the federal government accountable to First Nations for safe drinking water.
Support from provincial governments is also necessary, as is being done in Ontario.
"A long history of colonialism has had disastrous effects on social, psychological and economic resilience in communities. Only a holistic approach that builds capacity and infrastructure throughout communities and across sectors will be successful," the report notes.
Water is life. We all have the right to safe water for drinking, cooking and bathing. Reconciliation means many things, but access to clean water is an absolute requisite.
An oil pipeline has leaked about 200,000 liters, or 52,834 gallons, of crude onto an aboriginal community in the oil-rich province of Saskatchewan, Canada.
This is the province's largest pipeline breach since July's disastrous 225,000 liter (59,438 gallon) Husky Energy Inc spill, in which some oil entered the North Saskatchewan River and cut off drinking water supply for two cities.
200K litres of oil spills onto First Nations land near Stoughton https://t.co/gWQtNR4NBa https://t.co/aymhMLTmWb— CBC News (@CBC News)1485218467.0
The latest spill happened on reserve lands of the Ocean Man First Nation. Ocean Man Chief Connie Big Eagle told Reuters that a local resident smelled the scent of oil for a week, located the spill and brought it to her attention on Friday.
While no homes were affected, the spill is about 400 meters (1,320 feet) from the local cemetery, Big Eagle said.
The Saskatchewan government was informed of the spill on late Friday afternoon, but the public was only notified of the spill on Monday.
Doug MacKnight, assistant deputy minister of the petroleum and natural gas division in the Economy Ministry, told reporters that the delayed announcement was due to the government not knowing the spill volume until Monday morning.
"At that point we felt it was prudent to let everyone know what we were up to," MacKnight said.
The pipeline was shut down after the breach was discovered. It is currently unclear how the leak happened or which company operates the underground pipeline that breached, as multiple pipelines operate around the site of the leak.
"There are a number of pipes in the area," McKnight said. "Until we excavate it, we won't know with 100-percent certainty which pipe." Excavation of the affected line is planned for Wednesday and will be sent for testing.
Tundra Energy Marketing Inc, which owns a pipeline near the spill, has been handling cleanup efforts since Saturday. As of Monday, 170,000 liters (44909 gallons) have been recovered.
According to the Regina Leader Post, the Ministry of Environment was notified of the spill on Friday afternoon, with the government saying it came from a Tundra-owned line.
Chief Big Eagle also told Retuers, "We have got to make sure that Tundra has done everything that they can to get our land back to the way it was. That can take years."
"They have assured me that they follow up and they don't leave ... until we are satisfied," she added.
MacKnight said that the oil spilled onto low-lying agricultural land that contains a frozen slough and did not enter any water sources such as creeks or streams. At this time, the spill has reportedly not affected air quality or wildlife.
July 1 marks Canada Day when many Canadians celebrate the unification of three colonies into their country on the same date in 1867. In Ontario, droves of people head off to their summer cottages and vacation get-a-ways on the shores of the Great Lakes for the holiday weekend. Lake Huron’s sandy beaches and beautiful aquamarine waters attract many visitors from all over the world. But this year, many First Nations were not celebrating the stripping of their sovereignty rights and desecration of their lands.
Those heading to the Saugeen Shores area and the town of Southampton this past weekend were greeted Saturday by the second annual “Walk the Talk” peaceful protest march against not one, but two permanent underground nuclear dumps less than a mile away from Lake Huron.
More than 500 citizens from across North America gathered at the Southampton, Ontario, flagpole on High Street by the lake. They gathered to voice their opposition to nuke dumps on these beautiful shores and to the continued production of this dangerous and deadly waste. They walked several kilometers through the town and along the beach to heighten awareness and bring attention to this diabolical plan, orchestrated largely in secret by local and national authorities and a deceitful industry, to bury low level, intermediate and high level nuclear waste underground and less than a mile away from this important fresh water source. They gathered to push back against a corrupt political leadership from the local level to the upper levels of dirty energy frontman Stephen Harper’s disastrous national government. They marched to say no to an industry that has been lying and deceiving the public about the dangers of nuclear energy and radiation exposure for decades. They walked to promote real renewable wind and solar energy alternatives.
Surely the question that comes to many is why on Earth would anyone in their right mind consider the shores of Lake Huron for the first permanent nuclear dump in North America? Lake Huron sits to the north of Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario and the water of this lake flows southward and eastward, eventually connecting to the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Great Lakes account for 21 percent of the world’s fresh water resources, or a little over one fifth, and to many native American cultures and First Nation peoples, the Great Lakes are considered the sacred heart of Turtle Island. So, why would anyone consider dumping radioactive poisons that will remain deathly dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years next to such an integral part of the our Great Lakes ecosystem? The answer begins with the human folly of siting what is now the world’s largest nuclear energy producer in this very same location.
The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station operated by Ontario Power Generation.
The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, with its eight currently operating reactors, is now the largest operating nuclear power plant in the world and fifth largest operating power producer of any kind. When all reactors are operating, it produces 7,276 megawatts a year. It sits directly on the shores of the lake on a sprawling 2300 acre complex that is also home to the Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF), an above ground interim waste storage area for the low level and intermediate level radioactive waste for all 20 of the nuclear reactors operated by Ontario Power Generation.
WWMF stores tons of radioactive wastes in 11 different buildings and has the capacity to burn thousands of pounds of this waste every day. That’s right, much of this low level and intermediate-level waste is actually being incinerated sending deadly cancer-causing radionuclides into the atmosphere while leaving growing piles of radioactive ash in their wake, and this has been going on for decades. Greenpeace has noted that incineration of low and intermediate-level radioactive waste does not destroy metals or reduce radioactivity of wastes. In theory, all but a small fraction of radioactive and metallic emissions from incinerators can be captured with well-maintained, high efficiency filters. However, the small particles that escape are more readily absorbed by living organisms than the larger ones filtered.
The Canadian nuclear industry, like its counterparts in nuclearized countries around the world, was born promoting the myth that nuclear energy is safe, green and too cheap to meter. A visit to Bruce Power Visitor’s Center is an immersion into the contradictions we are faced with regarding our energy choices and their repercussions. To arrive to the center, you must pass fields of wind generators in every direction. One hundred fifteen wind turbines make the surrounding wind project one of the largest in Ontario, but the turbines are owned by Enbridge—the same Enbridge that pumps tar sands from the scorched earth of Alberta through a web of spill prone pipelines to be refined in Sarnia, Detroit, Toledo and other points south. Solar trackers also dot the landscape as farmers invest more and more into the harvesting of renewables.
The center itself is a series of stations and displays extolling the fairy tale of a happy marriage between nukes and the natural world. There are several large murals, one depicts wildlife, first nations, early settlers and the nuclear reactors all harmoniously existing side by side. Another mural shows people boating and fishing in the shadow of the power plant with the words “Radiation is all around us,” sprawled across the top and manipulative phrases meant to lull people into considering the cancerous reality of radiation exposure as harmless. The Canadian nuclear industry promotes its Canada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) reactors as a safe, accident proof method of boiling water that is as innocuous as a mother producing milk, with no harmful side effects. The visitor center at Bruce Power employs the best propaganda the industry can muster in several interactive stations promoting nuclear as the safest and most reliable form of energy while devaluing the role renewables could play in a much safer energy economy.
The realities of the dangers posed by the CANDU reactors and the inordinate amount of high-level radioactive fuel they produce are outlined in this May 1 interview with Arnie Gunderson of Fairwinds Energy Education and Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility titled “Nuclear Contamination Knows No Borders.” CANDU reactors are constantly releasing the known cancer-causing radionuclide tritium into the environment and the levels of tritium in both Lake Ontario and Lake Huron are on a steady increase. Despite a litany of problems with the CANDU design, the industry has done a good job convincing Canadians that they should have no fear of this "fail-safe" reactor design.
With what is now the world’s largest nuclear power plant steaming away on the shores of Lake Huron and a pile of deadly and poisonous radioactive waste that is decades high and growing, Ontario Power Generation is now pushing to transform Lake Huron into a nuclear sacrifice zone. Their plan is to dig out two, what they call Deep Geological Repositories (DGRs), less than a mile away from the Lake and 680 meters below the surface to bury low level, intermediate-level and high-level radioactive waste permanently in shafts carved out of limestone. This is an experiment that has never been done anywhere else in the world and yet just as the nuclear industry tells us that radiation is harmless, we are to believe that this waste will remain safely out of harms way under the Lake for hundreds of thousands of years to come.
Recently, it has come to light that government officials from local mayors all the way up to the current president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Michael Binder, held secret meetings with an association of nuclear power companies called the Nuclear Waste Management Organization charged with locating a dump site. The meetings were held under the guise of the Deep Geological Repository Community Consultation Advisory Group, which consists of a quorum of eight mayors of communities in Bruce County, from 2005 to the fall of 2012. Many of these meetings took place before the public was even made aware of the possibility of siting a high-level waste dump in Bruce County and while the process for siting the low and intermediate level waste dump was still ongoing.
According to documents uncovered by the local group, Save Our Saugeen Shores, Binder, who is a political appointment of the Harper government and chairs what is supposed to be Canada’s neutral nuclear watchdog, warned participants at a meeting on September 30, 2009, of environmental and anti-nuclear groups who “have the project on their agenda. You haven’t seen anything yet.” It seems that Binder had already made up his mind about the validity of the low and intermediate level waste dump as well, stating he hoped "their next meeting with him would be at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the low and intermediate-level waste DGR.”
“Secret meetings between industry, government officials and the nuclear oversight commission are a definite slap in the face to democratic transparency, if not downright illegal,” said Jutta Splettstoesser, a resident and farmer from Kincardine.
“The timing of this discussion is troublesome,” says Cheryl Grace, a spokesperson for Save Our Saugeen Shores, the group which accessed the information. “What’s troubling is the secrecy exhibited by the mayors who were elected to serve the public, not the nuclear industry. We can find no evidence that the mayors, meeting as a county council, felt the need to discuss these issues in a public forum. In our own experience with Saugeen Shores council, the council regularly goes around the table and each councillor reports on their activities between council meetings. Mayor Mike Smith, who attended these meetings with the nuclear industry, never saw fit to inform his council and the public about these discussions and meetings. Either that or he did so in a separate secret forum, making all of this even more troubling for our community.”
Fortunately, ground has not yet been broken on either of these ill conceived nuclear waste dumps and resistance is growing as word gets out despite Ontario Power Generation and the Canadian Nuclear industry’s best efforts to keep a lid on the project. Locally, citizens groups plan on challenging the legality of the secret meetings and the collusion demonstrated between the mayors of Bruce County and the nuclear industry prior to public knowledge of the dump siting process.
Any serious political opposition party with a little clout can use the obvious industry bias exhibited by the chair of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to further expose the Harper government’s marriage to dirty energy. Harper already faces sinking popularity and credibility, protecting the nuclear industry’s profit motives in this case has international ramifications for the health and sustainability of the entire Great Lakes region. Even in the U.S., with all its problems of transparency and nuclear malfeasance, an uncovering of such industry bias by an NRC commissioner as was exhibited by Michael Binder would end in his forced resignation or removal, coupled with criminal prosecution.
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, which is an organization of mayors and other elected officials from more than 100 Great Lakes cities and representing over 16 million people, came out in opposition to the DGR 1 for low-level and intermediate level waste in May. Seventy seven percent of these mayors voted to oppose the dump at this time, stating that, “When dealing with a resource as valuable as the freshwater here, why take the risk of putting the site so close to the shore. Whatever the geology might be in the location, it just seems to make much more sense to have the site as far away as possible from such a major source of fresh water” and concluding “the limited time to review the record and prepare comments, the limited outreach to the broader Great Lakes and St. Lawrence community, and the consideration of only one site that is one kilometer from Lake Huron leads us to conclude that the project should not move forward at this time.”
The Michigan State Senate also recently passed a resolution opposing the low and intermediate level nuclear dump and calling for the U.S. congress to intervene to ensure that international agreements are upheld. The resolution also declared that elected officials in Michigan are more engaged in the process to site a dump and that Michigan standards must be adhered to, declaring no dump site of this nature is to be located within ten miles of “Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, the Saint Mary’s River, the Detroit River, the St. Clair River or Lake St. Clair.” Michigan standards also exclude “sites located within a 500-year floodplain, located over a sole source aquifer, or located where the hydrogeology beneath the site discharges groundwater to the land surface within 3,000 feet of the boundaries of the site. We encourage Canada to consider similar siting criteria.” The Macomb County commissioners also passed a resolution opposing the siting of the DGR 1 or any other dump so close to the shores of any Lake in the Great Lakes Basin.
Groups are organizing at the grassroots level and they need your support. The Ontario Power Generation and the Canadian government would like us to think that the DGR 1 for low and intermediate-level waste is a done deal, but it’s not! The time is now to raise your voice on this important issue.
"The only answer to the problem of nuclear waste is to stop producing it, however the nuclear industry is gunning for a deep geological repository as a solution to nuclear waste storage so they can promote nuclear expansion. Activists and residents are working with Indigenous Nations and environmental groups across borders and oceans to call on our governments to stop producing it now," said Zach Ruiter of GE-Hitachi's Uranium Secret in Toronto. No safe, permanent solution has yet been found anywhere in the world for the nuclear waste problem.
A petition by the Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump citizens group is circulating via the internet that can be signed to stop the low and intermediate level dump. The following groups provide more information on how to actively participate in stopping these nuke dumps on the shores of Lake Huron: Save Our Saugeen Shores, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Northwatch and Ontario's Green Future.
Visit EcoWatch’s NUCLEAR page for more related news on this topic.
HOW SHOULD THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY AGENCIES DEAL WITH NUCLEAR WASTE WORLDWIDE?
Imagine it—Pollution from tanker traffic. An impossible-to-rule-out oil spill. Destruction of pristine habitat for sea otters, killer whales, puffins, seabirds and even iconic spirit bears.
That’s what’s awaiting British Columbia’s northern coast and hundreds of species of birds, animals and marine life that thrive in this region if we don’t take action right now.
A controversial proposed pipeline would carry oil from the tar sands in Alberta to a port at Kitimat, British Columbia. After travelling nearly 1,170 km through pristine wilderness and First Nations homelands, tar sands oil would be loaded on tankers bound for Pacific markets. To get there, they must first navigate the perilous northern B.C. coast, travelling the same wildlife-filled waters where the Queen of the North ferry sank in 2006. Is this pipeline in the public’s best interest?
If given a go-ahead, the pipeline project would:
- Fragment the boreal forest, home to birds and other wildlife, including woodland caribou and grizzly bears.
- Expose the Great Bear Rainforest, home to wolves and the iconic spirit bear, and 30 internationally recognized Important Bird Areas teeming with marine birds, fish and other animals to potential oil spills and pollution from increased tanker traffic.
- Risk irreversible harm to the livelihoods of many coastal and aboriginal communities.
Canada’s wildlife depends on us to speak up on their behalf and put a stop to the Northern Gateway Pipeline project before it’s too late. Add your voice and send your letter today.
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