News Item: Stephen Harper to Eliminate Navigable Waters Act Click on the above to read the current story on this item.Originally published March 17, 2009
“Why do we have it?” Asked BC Premier Gordon Campbell at the Northern BC Economic Summit in Prince George last month, “Instead of amending it why don’t [we] eliminate it.”
Not only did Campbell not seem to comprehend why we have the Navigable Waters Act he had difficulty pronouncing the word. He told the gathered political crowd that the Act is a huge challenge and that it creates uncertainty, stating that we have to make sure ships can go safely adding however “we’re actually capable of deciding”, how to ensure safe tanker passage.
He spoke about the Navigable Waters Act, originally passed in 1860, with disgust and derision at times accentuating his words to evoke laughter about the Act, particularly when he had difficulty enunciating the word 'Navigable'. After stating that we should just eliminate the Act he advised the gathering that they could save hundreds of millions of dollars asking the crowd to tell them to do it. “It’s time for partnerships” he stated, “the feds should trust the provincial government and the provincial government should trust [you, industry]” Addressing the Northern pipeline corridor, which Enbridge is currently proposing, and the Port in Prince Rupert he indicated that it wasn’t about the North it was about all of Canada, and that we should take advantage of the Pacific Corridor.
He then switched his direction to talk about the “Green” economy and the future generations. He lauded the new Independent Power Production (IPP) projects suggesting that this isn’t just for the next generation but for the generation that follows them. He spoke about the job creation in the construction of these projects but neglected to inform the crowd that these jobs were only construction jobs and that after completion the IPP projects required virtually no employees and would be owned by private corporations with no substantial benefits for those future generations he spoke about.
He spoke about these issues after he introduced the topic of mineral resources and the environmental assessments on the variety of projects currently being considered stating, “One country, one project, one review.” suggesting that we need to reduce all the reviews to one body. He did not elaborate on whether on not he thought just one person should make all the decisions, such as himself, or if there should be a committee comprised of various qualified professionals that considered all the impacts of a project, the social, environmental, and other considerations or just the economic benefits. Currently BC has two men that comprise the Oil and Gas Commission, which used to be an organization of many that addressed the various aspects of an Oil and Gas project.
Premier Campbell has not revealed anything further except that he believes the starting point might be ripping up the Navigable Waters Act of 1860, which addresses how tanker traffic navigate the waters of the Coast line of British Columbia safely.
Tonight an environmental group will be holding a public forum at 7pm in the Terrace Best Western Hotel to talk about the pipeline proposed by Enbridge. You can read more about this forum HERE
The pictures that we have attached to this article are of Australia's beautiful eastern white sand beaches in Queensland that are today covered in thick oil from a cargo vessel which had a fuel tank ruptured. This was not a crude oil tanker but the effects of this relatively small spill are evident. Google it or follow this link for a summary by msnbc Here
The March 24 '89 oil spill by the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound released 260,000 barrels of oil and created a 6,700-km2 spill, of which 23% was removed. Total cleanup costs reached 1.2 billion.