Oil Has Been Spilling Into The Pacific Since Last Month And It’s Being Totally Ignored

oil-spill3By Chris “Kikila” Perrin

When is environmental damage too much? When is it acceptable? In what is being called “a relatively tiny” marine oil spill, for the Heiltsuk First Nations of the Central Coast of BC, the question is being asked in quite real terms, forcing government to answer the questions that it might have preferred to have evaded.

Since running aground in mid-October, a small boat has been leaking oil into the Pacific Ocean, and along BC’s Central Coast. Despite the fact that this spill comes in the aftermath of the Royal Visit to the region — a visit that sought to place the health of the coastline and all the life that dwells there within the global lens — there appears to be very little international interest. Making matters worse, there appears to be little interest from Canadian lawmakers on how best to reduce the potential for disasters like this.

Along the Central Coast of British Columbia, the Great Bear Rainforest is seen as “one of the most pristine wilderness environments on earth.” Stretching approximately 400 kilometers along this sparsely populated area, the Great Bear Rainforest has long represented the very idea of conservation and intrinsic preservation to Canadians and environmentalists around the world.

Along with the Kermode Bear, the area made National Geographic’s “Places of a Lifetime” list and has been called the planet’s last large expanse of coastal temperate rainforest by people like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  Natural beauty, conservation projects, and provincial parks are not, however, all the region is known for.

Of all things, the Central Coast offers access to the Pacific Ocean. It also provides a more-or-less direct line for fossil fuel exportation from various LNG (liquefied natural gas) sites around the province, as well as tar sands oil from the neighboring province of Alberta.

North of Bella Bella, the town of Kitimat serves as the proposed terminal destination of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline, a project that has seen a great deal of protest that, in many ways, echoes the issues coming to a head in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. One of the most attractive aspects of the region, insofar as fossil fuel extraction is concerned, is the access it offers to Asian markets, pitting the desires of big oil corporations against those of First Nations and environmentalists, alike.

Even with the legislative death of Northern Gateway, the region continues to be the focal point for resource extraction. October’s oil spill — which is ongoing — provides a visceral reminder of what is at stake in such discussions, pushing many local residents to demand a full tanker ban along the Central Coast.

Yet, while the Coastal Rainforest is inundated with thousands of liters of oil, the federal government seems content to remain reactive. Rather than agreeing to the suggested ban, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instead proposed a $1.5 billion (CDN) fund to help deal with oil spills after they occur.

Reactive policies like this leave the fragile ecosystems found in the Central Coast region to suffer contamination before they are dealt with, and offer no change for the way issues of sovereignty are evaluated between First Nations and the colonial Canadian government.

Since his election in 2015, PM Trudeau has taken several quick steps back from his promises to respect First Nations’ sovereignty and deal with environmental issues. Although this relatively tiny marine oil spill” can be seen as just that, a minor environmental issue that will be cleaned up with more federal money, there is a deeper implication that can be seen — one that pits ongoing environmental degradation and cultural assimilation and genocide against neoliberal economic policy.

This article (Oil Has Been Spilling Into The Pacific Since Last Month And It’s Being Totally Ignored) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Chris “Kikila” Perrin and UndergroundReporter.org. If you spot a typo, please email the error and the name of the article to [email protected]. Image credit: Flickr/John Lester.


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8 Comments on "Oil Has Been Spilling Into The Pacific Since Last Month And It’s Being Totally Ignored"

  1. I live here ……& it really pisses me off… & of course my friends that live here as well….this is one of the last …almost untouched wildernesses on Mother Earth….Everyone I talk to here is concerned …& rightly so.

    • If you’re pissed off and your friends concerned, you should look into spreading straw on all affected areas. The straw will collect the oil, gather it up for disposal as it washes ashore. Don’t allow your government to add insult to injury by adding additional contaminants to this, already, fragile and hurting environment; as ours did with the Gulf of Mexico.

      • A fishing boat went down off a point that can only be accessed by water…no roads…so “compared with itself each thing is both great & small”(anaxagorus)…tho it’s relatively a very small spill…it emphasizes what would indeed happen once again if a comparatively large Exxon Valdez tanker went aground again…as the BIG Oil corporations are pushing for this pipeline spigot to Asia to manifest for their future profits (the environment be damned) despite the wishes of the aboriginal tribes & coastal people in general….contingent on the fact that the gov. can’t be bothered to show up for this small spill…What If?…………..?

  2. Sounds like a bunch of “conservatives” doing nothing and calling themselves “conservatives” while not acting as conservationists at preserving and protecting the environment in the first place. “Liberal, conservative”, – reality is that the no one serves and protects the environment. In short there are no real conservatives. Republicans, libertarians, Zionists etc. pick a label. It won’t matter the planet is still burning from all the different groups who do not no how to put out the fire burning up their neighborhood. Are you going to eat that radioactive fish; transport your family in that hot new car, or do you all ready live near an ongoing existing contamination from one of the many aged nuclear facilities in the good old USA or elsewhere. A larger graveyard is the future of the technological advancement of our present progression.The fate of your environment rests with a lame duck and the reign of Trump; who has no knowledge or will, to rescue anyone from an actual environmental catastrophe.

  3. Here in the Usurped Ztates the EPA is a complete joke.
    The only thing they know how to do is screw things up, such as th Animas river in Colorado.
    I sent them concerns over chemtrails years ago, nothing but a bunch of latte sipping scone eaters.
    Worthless like all the alphabet agencies.
    GL with your group of taxpayer waste.

  4. So very True, my good man. But a few people are making the rest aware of this fenominal deadly danger. But what the heck, not worth a word to be spoken about, nor in MSM nor in “Alt News”.

    Love your optimism about “within 50 years”. The Fukushima disaster runs since 2011.
    And as we all know, radioactive material is not going away and in this case it cumulates.

    The North Pacific is already slowly dying.
    Watch the fauna in the Pacific Ocean, many uneatable.

    • Rense has covered Fukushima since 3/11. Check his Monday night show, discusses this issue for two hours, every Monday.

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