by Chris “Kikila” Perrin, Underground Reporter:
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 rain forest 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 neighbouring 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.
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