Small population, big voice

Fort St. James gains national attention with Northern Gateway opposition

Fort St. James is becoming just a little more well-known across the country, thanks to the growing controversy over the Norther Gateway Project.

Area opposition to the project is in the news as the review process grinds down towards the final hearings. Some attention camewith the recent public stand taken by the District of Fort St. James.

An article which was published in both the Vancouver Sun and the Calgary Herald on August 2 quoted Mayor Rob MacDougall and Kandace Kerr of the Fort St. James Sustainability Group and examined opposition to the proposed pipeline.

A Toronto Star article from August 6 quoted Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach, another municipality which has taken a public stand against the project.

“There will always be a question in our minds,” Mayor Taylor Bachrach. “Will this be the day that we turn on the radio and hear that there’s been a pipeline rupture and that oil is gushing into the Morice River or the Copper River or the Kitimat River?”

“And people in Kitimat Village and Hartley Bay will wonder, is this the day that a tanker runs off course and hits the rocks?” Bachrach said.

“For people in Cordova, Alaska, Battle Creek, Mich. and many other communities, this is no longer a question because, for them, that devastating day has already come.”

The article included at the end some exerpts from oral statements made at community hearings along the pipeline route.

Of the six exertps at the end of the article, two of the speakers were from Fort St. James.

Jana Gainor’s and Peter Erickson’s statements were quoted, and both spoke to the long-term potential impacts of the pipeline.

“Just the construction of this pipeline and the greenhouse gas created by the construction would more than offset any value ever created by the pipeline itself. The damage done to our medicine and food plants and the effect on the animals during construction far outweigh any benefits our territory and our people will ever get from this project.”

— Peter Erickson, hereditary chief of Nak’azdli First Nation.

“So in conclusion, I would like the Review Panel to think; think about building a pipeline that is guaranteed to spill . . . (that ships a product) that is proven to be doing irreversible damage to our planet, putting our province’s growing tourism industry under threat and discrediting Canada worldwide. We know better, so let’s do better. Do better so you can look at yourself in the mirror in 20 years and know you did the right thing for the generations that follow you. I know I am. I say no tankers, and no thanks.”

— Jana Gainor of Fort St. James, B.C.

To read the full articles referred to:

Most British Columbians oppose Enbridge pipeline, for now: poll

Growing opposition to northern British Columbia pipeline will test Canada PM Stephen Harper