Ferries and ecotourism impact killer whales more than oil tankers. Why isn’t Ecojustice taking them to court?

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Big surprise.

Foreign funded pipeline opponents are engaging in more lawfare against Trans Mountain after its second approval.

This time they’re arguing that the federal government failed to protect southern resident killer whales.

Then why aren’t they taking B.C. Ferries to court over their planned expansion? Or why not raise the alarm about the increased use of ecotourism vessels?

The National Energy Board produced a whopping 674-page report and recommendations addressing the potential impacts of the pipeline expansion for the at-risk population of killer whales living in the coastal waters of southwestern British Columbia.

What did they find (p. 403 of the report)?

  • That B.C. Ferries are estimated to “contribute 52 to 67 per cent of underwater noise.”
  • That tug boats account for 12 to 27 per cent of noise.
  • That merchant ships account for 11 to 13 per cent.

Oil tanker traffic is responsible for just one per cent of the sound regionally and up to 6 per cent in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The report also found the impact of the expansion will be a “small fraction of total cumulative effects” when it comes to marine traffic and “the level of traffic is expected to increase with or without the Project.”

But that’s not all. There are several conditions and recommendations for Trans Mountain to meet to mitigate risks of increased traffic and provide greater protections for marine mammals. That includes a Marine Mammal Protection Program and ongoing commitments around marine spill prevention.

The fact is, opponents don’t want to recognize the immense contributions Canada’s energy producers make toward marine safety and environmental responsibility. They’re only determined to shut down Canada’s oil and natural gas sector and the jobs and benefits that come with it, no matter the consequences.

Trans Mountain is one of the most thoroughly reviewed and debated infrastructure projects in our country’s history. It has gone through several rounds of consultations. A clear majority of British Columbians and Canadians believe it’s time to get this pipeline built.

Let’s build that pipe!

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