By BEN WEST | FORESTETHICS ADVOCACY
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
In the same city, on the same day, two very different events will occur: one will host suits and ties from the oil industry, the other will feature three women who dealt with the consequences of that very industry. And we’ll be at both.
In Vancouver on Thursday January 31st, we will be organizing an event called “LEAKED: An Evening of Oil Spill Stories from the Frontlines of Alberta, Michigan and BC.” As we consider the controversial Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipeline proposals we thought it might be helpful to bring in some speakers who had experienced an oil spill firsthand. We are lucky to have three amazing women step forward who are generous enough to share their stories.
During that same day, a very different type of event will take place. The Vancouver Board of Trade is hosting a forum featuring BC's Energy Minister Rich Coleman, Alberta's Minister of Energy, Ken Hughes, and Ian Anderson, the Canadian figure head of Houston-based Kinder Morgan, who wants to turn Vancouver Harbour into a tar sands shipping port. We will be attending the forum, then holding our own event in the evening filling in any important information that might have been glossed over by industry representatives.
“Leaked” will begin with a greeting and introduction from Leah George-Wilson, former Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. She was chief at the time of the Kinder Morgan oil spill in Burnaby in 2007 and was directly involved in the response effort. City workers hit Kinder Morgan’s pipeline while working on a road because of faulty maps provided by the company. Half of the oil spilled made its way into the Burrard Inlet.
Michelle Barlond-Smith from Kalamazoo, Michigan will be up in BC to testify at the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline joint review panel hearings about her experience dealing with a massive spill of diluted bitumen (dil-bit) from the Enbridge pipeline in her region. There is so much to learn from this experience given how little is known about the environmental impacts of dil-bit. The EPA said that they were woefully unprepared to deal with a spill of this kind and it seems clear that British Columbia isn’t prepared either.
Finally we will hear from Melina Labucon-Massimo from the Lubicon Cree in Alberta at the other end of these proposed pipelines to the west. She will share the heart-breaking story of the impact of a pipeline spill in her community in 2010.
By facing the true risks associated with what is being proposed, we hope that this will help us all forge a new path forward. We will be inviting members of the Board of Trade to join us to hear the other side of the story and will call to their attention the economic opportunities associated with policies and investment that can help us move beyond our dependence on fossil fuels.
I hope you can join us in person at the Heritage Hall 3102 Main Street (at 15th Ave.) in Vancouver @ 7PM this Thursday.