In Wake of Canadian Eco-Clustercuss, Study Shows Effect of Oil Spill in Salish Sea

On the green front, things have been getting pretty heated up in Canada. First Nations groups have been rallying hard against Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Canadian government for failing to consult with them before developing fracking and shale gas sites on native land. Mi’kmaq protestors torched five Canadian police cruisers in New Brunswick in an intense standoff that eneded in rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray.

Closer to home, Greenpeace protestors recently formed a blockade at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline just East of Vancouver B.C. The move was an act of protest against Kinder Morgan’s proposed $5 billion expansion of the pipeline, which would almost triple the barrels of oil pumped from the Alberta oilsands to Vancouver each day (300,000 barrels to an estimated 850,000 barrels). The expansion includes the creation of megaterminals in Vancouver ports, which would ship the oil to Asia.

Raincoast, a Canadian environmental research organization, is conducting a study to see just how extensive a potential oil spill from one of these new large tankers out of Vancouver could be. B.C. secondary schoolers haves dropped hundreds of “drift cards,” bright yellow pieces of plywood with unique numbers. If the public finds a card on a beach, they can report it to, in the hopes of mapping out the impact of an oil spill and the potential paths oil might take. Cards have already been found in the San Juan Islands, even though the cards were only dropped days ago on October 24th in Vancouver Harbor. Vancouver B.C. and Washington’s shared ecosystem makes the Salish Sea particularly succeptible to possible spills.

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