Consumption

The call by Coast Salish tribes for an international Salish Sea environmental assessment raises the ultimate question of whether citizens of British Columbia and Washington are willing to reduce their consumption of petroleum in order to limit oil tanker traffic. While it is important to stop the export of fossil fuels through the Salish Sea, it is vital to limit the import of oil. As long as citizens mindlessly consume aviation fuel and gasoline, the pressure for more pipelines and tankers will continue.

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Strength and Resiliency

As part of truth and reconciliation with the three First Nations located in Vancouver, B.C., the Vancouver School Board has commissioned three Indigenous-carved welcome posts to be erected on school district property. The tribal carvers interact with school kids, as they learn about Indigenous themes and customs represented by the figures.

The Pollution Economy

Without notice, the U.S. EPA has rescinded water quality standards designed to protect human health. Revoking standards that regulate the discharge of toxic chemicals into the Salish Sea, says Jamestown S’Klallam chair Ron Allen, is “a breach of the federal government’s trust obligation to tribes.”

Seaworthy

The 10-year restoration of the 106-year-old schooner Adventuress at Port Townsend Boat Haven is complete. The Sound Experience youth sailing program introduces kids to the possibility of a maritime career. Look for her at Bellingham in May, and in September at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival.

In the Dark

While First Nations in the Fraser River Valley battle the Government of Canada’s oil sands pipeline, First Nations in the Athabasca River Valley are being gassed with toxic petrochemical clouds emitted by oil sands giant Syncrude. Astonishingly, Fort McKay First Nation was not warned of the carcinogenic cloud by Health Canada until after it had already enveloped their reserve–12 hours after the toxic release.

Meanwhile, the Alberta Energy Regulator–an independent corporation funded by the oil sands industry to monitor the oil sands holocaust on behalf of the province–has replaced field audits of reclamation sites with automated desktop audits “in a matter of hours.”

In the aftermath of the incident, the Alberta Energy Regulator fired its chief scientist, a toxicologist who, according to internal records, tried to warn the community of the danger.

Crude Reality

In response to the many explosive tragedies across North America from bomb trains, the Washington State legislature is considering regulations to reduce the volatility of Bakken crude shipped by rail. Meanwhile, the state of North Dakota is preparing to sue Washington state if it sets a lower pressure unit, “a measure aimed at protecting communities from fiery derailments.”