John Disney-the suppressed testimony

  • Mar. 7, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Old Massett Economic Development Officer John Disney tried to make a lengthy presentation to the Joint Review Panel in Old Massett last week.He was repeatedly interrupted by panel chair Sheila Leggett, who told him his presentation did not fit the panel rules.Here, the complete suppressed testimony, all 9,493 words.Introduction:My name is John Disney and in 1969, after consultation and advice from several Haida elders, including Adam Bell and his wife Rose, Alfred Davidson adopted me. He was advised to give me the name Git Guu Jouse, which was his own name. My present job is I’m the Economic Development Officer for the Old Massett Village Council. I was born in England, raised in Africa and moved to Canada while still a teenager where I quickly became a Canadian citizen. I have been on Haida Gwaii for over 46 years where I was in the commercial fishing industry for over 30 years mostly in the waters that the proposed tanker route will traverse. I became immersed in both Haida Gwaii and the Haida world from the start and this has been my home and my community. I have 30 years of contracting and business experience and in my present position I am a boots on the ground, in the trenches Community Economic Development practitioner. I am not an academic, however I am a SFU trained CED professional. I have held my present job for over 12 years and I have developed a highly aggressive Economic Development program, which is coming on track at this time. Appendix I – List of Issues (pg. 21 of the Hearing Order)The Panel’s environmental assessment of the Project and related public interest determination will include, but not limited to, consideration of the following. Where applicable, all of these issues apply to both the terrestrial and marine components of the Project. Also note that the issues include those to be considered under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act as outlined in Parts I, II and III of the Joint Review Panel Terms of Reference (appended below the List). 1. Need For the Proposed ProjectNeed for the Project as proposed by the applicantHaida Gwaii has been exposed to this situation before. We had the Federal Government and Industry telling us that it was in the best interests of Canada to reallocate the fish resources at our doorstep to big business. Fish had been the foundation of the Haida culture for thousands of years, which naturally morphed into the largest economy on island up until recently. Their reasoning was that the fish had more value if given to big business. The result was it put us all out of work and drove several of our island communities below the poverty line. The value they quoted earlier went into the coffers of big business and out of the communities. From this experience it has taught me that this will be the same. Enbridge and the associated oil companies will gain value, however the Canadian community will not. In fact the economic impact from my experience will be negative no matter what the forecasts. The key pieces just aren’t there. With rising fuel prices and costs of oil imports into Canada on the rise, the entire Canadian economy will decline, as everything will cost more thereby stifling growth. By exporting close to 20,000 FT refining jobs and threatening the security of 56,000 coastal jobs that depend on a clean environment and no motivation for Enbridge and the oil companies to develop this project without risk, from my work experience this spells economic disaster. All of these calculations are drawn from my usual tested economic assessment methods that I have developed over my working life. I see nothing other than rhetoric that has persuaded me otherwise. This project in my view based on my personal knowledge is NOT in the best interests of Canada. There are some HUGE questions that leap out at me: why not secure Canada’s energy needs far into the future by refining the product and shipping it east to avoid having to rely on foreign oil from unstable sources? (Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russian and Africa.) These huge imports are at the mercy of world oil prices, ours won’t be. Does Ottawa think that our largest ally and friend will just simply forget that we are not providing security to the N. American continental energy needs by shipping our energy to China? In my experience if you turn your back on your economic friends, they never forget and in the end you will pay for this.The applicant has outlined the need for this project however their arguments are all speculation and rhetoric. There is a startling absence of facts. They say they’ll build a pipeline, which they’ll operate safely. Then ship the unrefined product to China to be refined and used there. I have many business dealings with China and the fact that they have several controlling interests in the Alberta tar sands means that they aim to control this project before actually committing-that is their MO. This is how they operate. I have first hand experience with this way of doing business with more than a dozen Chinese groups and it’s always been the same. They get in control then they move in. Enbridge will do well but no one else will, and Canada is already losing control of those decisions. In my dealings with the Chinese they are all about business and what’s in their best interest. Our environment, economy and social values are irrelevant. Case in point from my experience; we had a contingent arrive to work with us to develop a shellfish aquaculture industry on Haida Gwaii. We planned on ramping up from a half million animals, which was our pilot project, to about 10 million animals as that was sustainable and had no impact on the environment. They offered to J/V with us and they’d build everything: hatchery, processing plant, farm site etc. The condition was they wanted to expand to between 500 million to one billion animals. The negative impact on the environment and other sea life wasn’t an issue, the fact that our local labour force would be overwhelmed with Chinese immigrant workers wasn’t an issue, the fact that the entire wage system on island would be downgraded to the poverty line was irrelevant, the fact that the entire socio-economic culture on island would be shattered for good wasn’t an issue. All that mattered was that they got to control the production of a billion shellfish for their needs. We were simply a means to an end. What I see unfolding here is scarily familiar.This raises a key point of interpretation. Who is the Canadian Public Interest? Who are Ottawa and this panel talking about when you say the phrase ‘the Canadian Public Interest’? Aren’t we Canadians here? Isn’t this about our Public Interest? As communities and cultures sitting on the time bomb that is this project, don’t we have say of equal value to those that live many time zones inland and will never see let alone live with the consequences of this project if/when it all goes south?o Supply and markets for the oil and condensate to be transported by the ProjectBecause of the experience I have dealing with the Chinese mind set and MO, I would be extremely concerned about how to control the market price for the end product, which after all is the key to the entire project from a monetary angle. From my observations, China is already in the oil patch and expanding their presence there. Why? Does Enbridge/Canada have long-term purchase orders in place that are indexed to cost of living or world markets? If not it is imperative that they do. Does the Canadian government have a long-term price controlled supply of condensate? If not, why not? My point is that every variable must be dealt with and cemented in place as the number and variety of ways to fail are too numerous.o Commercial support for the Projecto Economic feasibility of the proposed facilitiesAny and all economic benefits will be eliminated with one incident. Maybe Enbridge will get off light, however the people of Canada will have to bear the brunt of the cost with their tax contributions when there’s a spill. [Refer to ‘fish and fish habitat’ below’] From my experience working on both sides of many contracts if you simply look at any project feasibility from the benefit side it will always look good. This is what’s being fed to us up to now by Enbridge et al. This tells me one of two things is happening: either they are simply presuming Canadians will pick up the tab if things go wrong, [i.e. a spill of some kind], or the costs of a worst-case scenario don’t balance the benefits and so they are avoiding this subject all together. Two other red flags have popped up, which from my experience assessing projects and potential business partners for the band, has importance. Enbridge has earmarked more money to just selling the project than any other project I’ve ever heard of. This immediately tells me that the project probably isn’t sound enough to sell itself. Invariably when project proponents that need my collaboration have approached me for support, the more selling that goes on compared to simply presenting the project information, tells me there’s probably something wrong with the project. The other red flag that struck home with instant warning bells was when Enbridge proceeded to ‘bribe’ a leader from the Gitxsan nation! My instant reaction based on years of weeding out the sound projects from the shaky ones was-there’s something seriously wrong with this project or they wouldn’t have stooped to those depths. This echoes the way I was treated by Enbridge when they came to Masset. They were expelled from this very hall and I turned down a face-to-face meeting with the ‘selling team’. From this they told a public audience in the hotel in Masset that my office was collaborating with them. This was a bald faced lie and the opposite of the facts. This tells me they will do anything to make their project appear better than it is. Following on this their advertising campaign is full of false messages and untruths. Why if the project is so good are they stooping to this sleazy level of communication? This all makes me very suspicious and in turn, from my experience doing hundreds of project assessments, tells me there are serious flaws with their proposal, and they know it.From my work, before embarking on any of the projects that I’ve developed for this community which I will talk about, I prepare a plan based on the very worst case scenario and see if things still work. I am presented with many projects and potential opportunities in my work from many different entities and they all look promising at first blush. However, very few survive because the results of my due diligence don’t survive the basic analysis. My rule is, if something can go wrong it will. That’s what would give me the first level of confidence in this project if it survived some of this basic due diligence. But where is it? I listen to the rhetoric and frankly straight forward lies (one phone call to the oil patch confirms this-it isn’t difficult) emanating from Ottawa and Enbridge’s head office and my instincts start screaming at me. From a holistic view point there is a lot wrong with this proposal. However, from Enbridge’s view point they see this as great for their shareholders. There’s a huge gap between these two views of this project.The economic feasibility evaluation is simple: build 2 pipelines for cost A, build the loading and transportation facilities for cost B, move products through the pipelines for cost C, add in transportation of product to market for cost D, sell the product for revenue E. Does E equal more than A+B+C+D? If so begin the due diligence, which is being hidden from Canadians here. Cost of spill of several different magnitudes, cost of Chinese vetoing original sales price and lowering it to suit their needs, cost of economy of China levelling off or declining, cost of lost economies on north coastal BC and Haida Gwaii when a spill happens, and the subsequent costs of supporting the labour force that has just been made redundant, cost of rising oil imports that continue because this product is not being used to address Canada’s needs and by association US needs??? These are some of the questions that I would demand are answered if this project was dumped on my desk. Immediately I can see that this is not economically feasible. In my experience I would then do an EIEO analysis to see if it’s even worth going any further. I’ve done that in a crude simple manner and at a cursory level the ratio is negative. So that should then lead to: can we make it feasible by adding in elements or maybe redoing the entire project? If this was a project presented to my office I would turn it down at this stage and go no further.In the headlong frenzy to make this about a debate of Enbridge and the project and set up an ‘us against them’ scenario, government seems to have lost site of the final target, which is selling off our energy sources overseas without an energy plan in place to assess the project against.2. Potential Impacts of the Proposed ProjectPotential impacts on:o Aboriginal interests including:. Socio-economic matters listed in Issue 4 (__) Despite enormous economic devastation over the last 15 years, [access to the resources blocked, BCP moving out, Petro Canada moving out, DND moving out, boat building ceasing to exist-Massett’s boat house is now just a house-the fish processors 85% closed] people on island have managed to survive and remain healthy because they have access to healthy food; fish, clams, crabs, chitons, sea urchins, water fowl, berries, fruits, wild herbs, mushrooms and plants as well as deer meat etc. If this situation had happened in Vancouver we would not only have hungry people but unhealthy people. All of this depends on a pristine clean environment. One mistake .0002% of the time and all this goes away and we have real poverty. See ‘marine environment’ below for the effects of oil spills based on my knowledge of the marine environment. Firstly, Enbridge themselves (Paul Stanway) has stated that in their last sizable spill in Michigan, that they haven’t completed the clean up there yet as they had to wait for winter to be over. That kind of thinking won’t work here as the marine environment will disperse the oil far and wide over hundreds of kilometers in a matter of days let alone by the end of winter. See ‘marine environment’ below. The core of the growing economy on island, both terrestrial and marine, depends on the dynamic environment that Haida Gwaii is, remaining pristine and clean. The people and the environment are one here, that’s how it all works so well. We live in the raw face of the natural world and thrive on the relationship. If we are separated from this world by some unforeseen incident, everything stops. . Asserted and proven Aboriginal rights (including Aboriginal title)One of the unique aspects of living on Haida Gwaii, the entire population has no illusions about who owns Haida Gwaii. Haida Gwaii is unquestionably the home of the Haida-no dispute, end of discussion. The rights of the Haida rule supreme on these islands. I have seen this everyday since I made my home here and there have been half a dozen court cases to enshrine this right as I’m sure you’ve been presented with yesterday. However, it’s more than that. It is beyond discussion, every non-Haida living on these islands just know they’re on Haida Land. We don’t debate it, we don’t dispute it, we simply live it. It is what Haida Gwaii is. When a local clash between industry and/or Canada arises we all rise up to meet the challenge together. It is not about ‘us’ and ‘them’. If you want to understand Haida Gwaii, this would be the best place to start. As an island, we see this project as a threat-together; as our terrestrial and marine environment are being used as poker chips and collectively we say that’s not good enough.. Treaty rights N/Ao Commercial For the last 12 years I have been developing an aggressive and forward-looking Economic Development program. We have experienced unemployment rates in the 70% range over the last 15 years-I know because I was involved in determining these numbers. However, don’t for a moment be fooled into thinking a tiny community like Old Massett can’t possibly be involved in anything that is of consequence to provincial, national and international events. Strategically we are located in a very unique and advantageous place on the globe and I have been developing those advantages over the last decade and more. All of the following commercial activity is sitting in the cross hairs of the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project. Today and in conclusion I ask that you consider the following when you do your assessments and make your recommendations:Aquaculture: both this community and Skidegate are developing a progressive and valuable aquaculture industry on Haida Gwaii. We have formed a three way J/V with a third party who brings in the technical know-how we need. This third party is a local BC company and so we are developing this so that all the benefits are local-no offshore interests to worry about. Both Skidegate and Old Massett have finished their pilot project in one marine species and now we are expanding to 3. We have 2 tenures and will be greatly expanding these to include many hectares of licensed areas and we are developing these in a way that is sustainable and has zero impact on our environment. In fact our philosophy is that we will always improve the environment so that it is better than when we arrived. We have the markets on hand who are willing to pay well for our product and we are value adding as much as possible to ensure all the benefits are kept on island and benefit our local economy. We will use our local airlines to ship the end product to marketplace and will help eliminate all unemployment on island. The reason we can grow the most prized seafood on the planet and do it faster than any other location that we can find, is because of the environment that is Haida Gwaii. We have conducted thousands of tests and amassed a mountain of data to show the nutrient levels in our waters are off the graph. Our windy and volatile climate, extreme tidal flows and exposure to the north Pacific’s relentless pounding makes it prime habitat for growing shellfish. The resulting product that I have personally tested in western Canada’s top seafood restaurants is one that is prized above all else by the chefs that I interact with.One oil spill and none of this will survive. Hydrocarbons spell death to shellfish-no questions, no degrees of impact and no debate. One spill and this industry moves into the history books. Within 6 years we have calculated that this Haida Gwaii industry will be worth up to $1Billion. Also note there is another local entity that is developing another shellfish industry alongside this one and so the total value will be more than just the one I’m helping to develop.Offshore restoration project: recently the Old Massett Village Council has reclaimed its historical stewardship role of the land and oceans that fall within their traditional territory. This has been supported by band legislation, mapping and permitting. The reason is that although we live under the Canadian government no one-no ministry, no agency, no business and no academic institution is providing stewardship services especially to the marine environment and offshore waters west of Haida Gwaii. As our entire environment, both land based and marine, is what sustains us through the salmon and resulting healthy watersheds on island, Old Massett is not leaving such an important survival-based role to any other entity any longer. The Haida of Old Massett have reclaimed their stewardship role of the land and oceans that surround them.As part of this reclaimed role, we have launched the most progressive and cutting edge ocean science research project on the planet. By next September we will have the most complete set of ocean science data in existence and we are doing this to determine the cause of collapsing salmon populations in north western North America. The salmon could arguably be said to be the foundation of the Haida culture, which remains as a key foundation block today. We have run a salmon hatchery on island for over 30 years and fight to even maintain low levels of fish in our main salmon river. We have determined that the problem isn’t on island but offshore and thus this scientific restoration project. The depth of commitment and value that is put on this work is underlined by the fact that the community of Old Massett has put their own money on the line to fund this work to the tune of several million dollars. The consequences of our work on this project has been determined to be increased fish stocks that will push the dollar value into the billions of dollars to people of western Canada through providing healthier fisheries. Add in the value of sequestering carbon and we have a multi billion-dollar result. One oil spill and this work will all be for nothing; no habitat for the salmon to return to, no clean watersheds to spawn in, no environment that can sustain life as it does today. It’s one or the other. They are mutually exclusive. I ask Canada through this panel, is it fair or sensible to ask Old Massett to sacrifice projects such as this for an unsustainable and excessively risky one such as is being proposed by Enbridge?Land Management Services: Old Massett Village Council has set up a land management services company with many peripheral aspects that depend on the maintenance of a pristine marine environment. This corporation restores land habitats to pre-industrial levels or speeds up their path back to old growth status after the logging companies are long gone. A significant component of this work involves the restoration, upgrading and the reestablishment of the ecological diversity to the land and fish spawning habitats that abound on Haida Gwaii. We take a holistic approach to this work to ensure all the needs of the salmon, fauna, flora and wildlife are met and to ensure the bush and watersheds are robust, diverse and resilient against the effects of climate change that we live with everyday here on island. The fruits of this restoration work are quickly apparent as we have some of the largest and fastest growing trees on the planet. By managing the species mix and maintaining the diversity that mirrors pre-logging eras, we can not only rebuild healthy forests and fish habitat we can also generate significant revenue by sequestering large quantities of carbon from the atmosphere. This addresses climate change head on and we create wealth and employment in parallel. If the rivers and waterways suffer from such an event as an oil spill or the gains made by sequestering carbon are all negated because we ship dilbit to China whose emissions then skyrocket because of their more liberal emissions standards, then all this work is wasted. From my experience working on global carbon emissions, offset credit systems, sequestration and biological structures I have learnt that everything is connected and this project can’t be viewed in isolation of what’s happening in Asia and their different view of energy emissions. As, from my experience I have determined that the commercial benefits of this proposed projects will largely remain with the commercial entities that develop it and all the risks are borne by others especially by communities such as Old Massett and the island community of Haida Gwaii, I can see no logical reason for it to proceed.Tourism: we in Old Massett have as one of our focuses, tourism. We have several projects underway including the construction of a Long house Village on the northern shore of Haida Gwaii in the clean, clear and totally untouched area of Hiellen. This is at the ancient village site that the Haida occupied for millennia and fronting on the Hiellen River and the famous Tow Hill beach. We are building in significant Haida cultural components and traditional knowledge to this development and will offer a wild, iconic and breathtakingly beautiful experience to visitors who come here from the large urban centers. One oil spill, one incident that puts hydrocarbons on this pure clean beach where locals go every tide to dig succulent razor clams or collect crabs to sustain them-just one and we will get zero repeat customers. That is the death knell of any tourism business. We have zero room for adjustment here. It’s either oil tankers or tourism as most of our tourism is marine or beach based.For example: the industry that replaced the commercial fishing industry on island was the industrial recreational fishing lodges. They managed through political lobbying to block almost all commercial fishing’s (including the Haida’s) access to the resource. Now we have the lodges on Haida Gwaii generating revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Oil is the one thing that will kill this industry quicker than any other except for no fish. Old Massett is addressing that issue as explained above.Parks: Old Massett’s Economic Development office won the contract to maintain all the Provincial parks on Haida Gwaii. The largest park-Naikoon Provincial Park-has as its biggest lure the magical beaches from Tow Hill, all the way along the north coast and down the east coast on the Hecate Strait to Tlell. Hikers from all over North America and the world come to walk these beaches. They are so remote, unspoiled and extensive that it takes several days to complete the entire trip. From my experience in northern France as a teenager, it only takes a few globs of oil on these types of beaches and tourists stop coming. From my earlier experience in Europe, although we were near tourism areas, the beaches with oil on them were void of people. I know that if this proposed project goes forward and there’s even one slip, it will kill our tourism industry, our parks contract and our other initiatives that depend on an untouched environment. The loss will run into tens of millions of dollars from the local economy and remove all future opportunity.Hatchery: We have run the Yakoun River hatchery on contract with the Federal Government for over 30 years. We enhance 2 species of salmon and are the only Chinook hatchery on island. We have never failed to reach our production targets and maintain one of the lowest mortality rates in the business. This is a successful and community based endeavour and is seen as a shining light in the Salmon Enhancement Program across the north coast. Over the years we have invested millions of dollars in this operation and we are largely responsible for keeping the 2 key salmon stocks in the Island’s largest river alive and well. This is a delicate balance however and it’s only the skill, dedication and knowledge of our hatchery crew that has made this such a success. If we have one incident in the marine environment especially from tankers using the Dixon Entrance route from the Hecate Strait to the north Pacific, this balance will be upset and with my experience with contracts with the Federal Government, if you don’t meet the terms of the contract they pull the contract. That would kill the program.It is in the Canadian public interest to preserve Haida Gwaii and its pristine environment because:. We are developing sustainable economies on land and in the oceans.. Canadian National parks ministry has just established a Marine Conservation Area in the path or adjacent to the proposed tanker route; this should not be put in jeopardy. We have already seen the results of unsustainability in the bush on Haida Gwaii and in some of the exploitive fisheries of the past. We have now addressed these issues and are on a sustainable and positive path. To reverse this for the benefit of a company or one industry is backward thinking. It is in the national interest to take note of the new direction this island is taking and the wealth and employment that is being created in a sustainable and beneficial manner.o Landowners and land use including issues related to: . Crossing of the pipeline with vehicles and farm machinery. Depth of cover for the pipeline. Impacts of the Project on agricultural soils3. Environmental Effects Potential effects on the environment, including:o Protected areaso Wildlife and wildlife habitato Fish and fish habitat The project pipeline crosses 700 to 1,000 (the accurate number is immaterial-it’s large) salmon bearing streams and rivers including the headwaters of BC’s 2 largest salmon rivers, representing over 2,000 salmon runs. If you want to kill a river dump oil, or worse a mixture of condensate and bitumen, at the head. My experience with the Marie Lake oil spill; 17,000 lts. of diesel was dumped into the bush 100 meters from the lake and our hatchery holding pens. Both Burrard Clean and North Arm (RP) who were called in to clean up this mess, lied to us from day one. They said 40% of the diesel spilled evaporated and so only 60% had to be accounted for. That’s a lie-I put diesel in 2 containers, one with water and one without in 2006-maybe they’ve declined by 2 mm or about 2% in 6 years from evaporation. They accounted for maybe 30% but their numbers were suspect and because of the earlier lie not reliable. They blew $10M (ICBC total) and then went home. I’d estimate three quarters of that spill is still in the environment. The process that followed was a two-year fight with many conference calls with up to 25 people involved from the Provincial and Federal Ministries on line. I was the ONLY person fighting on behalf of OMVC and our hatchery on these calls, the fish and the habitat. DFO, EC, HC, Provincial MOE and MAF and people from the BCEAA and yes your CEAA all tried to shut me down and assure me nothing was wrong and everything would be just fine. Today if you go to that lake and turn over a rock you see diesel. Imagine a spill of 90,000,000 gallons (capacity of a VLCC). or half that.. Or one tenth of that! My point is that there’s a lot of rhetoric around spills and such and not much truth. So I always rely on my own knowledge and experience. In my lifetime my experience has been that oil and hydrocarbon clean up is mostly a sham and a profitable industry. A Burrard Clean employee who had personal connections in the community has confirmed this. He assured us that the company had a good thing going and with the many variables it was easy to fluff the numbers. All clean up jobs were lucrative to the company. On a final note, when the Queen of the North Ferry sank (the tankers carrying this dilbit will cross over that site) guess who was called in to control the fuel leakage? Burrard Clean and their spokesperson was on the news within 48 hours saying that 45% of the spill would evaporate and so they only had to account for 55%. It seems the evaporation rate is climbing! We have friends in Cordova AK who experienced exactly the same treatment from Exxon-lies and a total avoidance of responsibility.My point is that there is a lot of rhetoric and misinformation around oil spill clean up. The reality in my experience is that you never really clean up a spill. You may be able to lessen the impact, but you can’t clean it up. There are many examples world wide to back this up. In my experience I have the Marie Lake spill and a diesel spill in a creek off the Mamin River to name a couple. In 1959 there had been a diesel spill in this creek and we were contracted to clean it up in 2009 and the diesel was still there in the mud and debris 60 years later. Hydrocarbons don’t evaporate or simply disappear and so Enbridge is asking us here on Haida Gwaii and others on the north coast with different values to accept their mistakes. Their mistakes will kill our livelihoods and destroy the environment that defines us.o Atmosphere including greenhouse gas emissions Canada has gone the opposite direction from not only Europe but the rest of the world. No other nation has so blatantly turned their back on the only process the planet has, to develop effective mitigations to climate change-The Kyoto Protocol. Based on my experience monitoring and being involved in climate change and carbon offset projects and first hand knowledge working with the Kyoto Protocol program, this is the worst move Canada could have made. 8 years ago Old Massett had a contract with the Federal Government to perform carbon forest restoration work which was a first step in addressing climate change and setting up the process whereby emitters could work with entities such as us to mitigate their carbon dumping into the globe’s atmosphere. Unfortunately within months of this contract letter, our present day government was elected and all such contracts and movement toward carbon dumping mitigation were scrapped. The whole issue with addressing climate change is that it takes many years after the legislation has been implemented before the benefits begin to turn the tide in your favour. If Canada had begun implementing the changes necessary back in the mid 1990’s we would be a world leader at this time instead of the embarrassment we are. I base this on the knowledge I’ve gained working on climate change and carbon sequestration projects over the last 10 years. This knowledge has been accumulated by working collaboratively with entities such as the UN, the US department of the environment (EPA), the EU and the key certifiers and carbon markets on that continent (DNV), and Provincial and European Academic institutions. We helped key leaders develop the studies, protocols and methodologies to not only implement the land and ocean based work but to do it in such a way that we could make significant inroads into eliminating Canada’s carbon footprint. The product from the many years of work we put into to developing these processes, methodologies and action plans, was reviewed by the four cornerstones of our society; the Federal Government, Academia, large industrial emitters (Shell Canada) and a legitimate voice for the environment (Ecotrust Canada). We had 100% support and encouragement for our methods and plan. Our present day government threw it all out. So when you seek input on a personal level into green house gas emissions, I can speak with authority from personal experience. The VLCC, the terminals in Kitimat, the 2 pipelines from Bruneheim, the tar sands extraction project itself are all getting a free ride and using the earth’s atmosphere as their free carbon dumping ground. Why or how Canada got to this place is irrelevant now. What are we going to do about it is the question? We have before us this Enbridge project, however where is the responsibility? They haven’t taken any steps to address the carbon they’re dumping into the atmosphere up to this point. Why should we be considering this latest application that will only exacerbate the situation without a mitigation process in place to address this free carbon dumping?One of the effects of green house gas emissions is rising sea levels. I present today some pictures taken of the airport in Masset that I’m presuming you landed at and the road that you drove down to get to Old Massett. Both these pictures show the effects of climate change as has happened in the last 2 months. We have many other examples and UVIC has done a comprehensive study on the sea level rising effects on Haida Gwaii, for your reference. I know where all 3 of you come from, rising sea levels is about as worrying as the make up of the rocks on the moon. However, we are living the effects of too much greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and our long-range plans are having mitigation elements built into them. This is only a stopgap however; as in the end we will lose this battle with the ocean, unless steps are taken right now to mitigate this issue. Maybe worrying about Old Massett and Haida Gwaii is peanuts. In my work studying these situations I’ve worked with professionals studying the BC Lower Mainland. From my experience working on that project it was determined that over half the population of the BC Lower Mainland is only protected by 3 feet of dykes. Maybe over a million people carries more weight? From my practical hands-on work in this field, I can state emphatically that the only true remedy is to curb and finally decrease our emissions of green house gases and begin reducing the carbon in the air we breathe. I haven’t determined why every element of this project from Haida Gwaii to Bruneheim is totally ignoring this subject; all I can say that the negative effects of climate change are real and we’re living it here on Haida Gwaii. The tar sands and all its offshoots such as this project are a major contributor to the problem; therefore hold the key to being a major solution. This doesn’t have to be painful or harmful to the economy in my experience. This has been proved around the world especially in Europe where I learnt first hand from Germany and the UK in particular that an economy can grow while reducing emissions. On my last trip to the UK for instance, I was shown evidence that since 1995 they had reduced their emissions by 7% while their economy grew by 25%.I base all this on the feasibility studies that my office has completed in collaboration with US entities, UBC, industry, the Federal Government, the Provincial government, the EU, UVIC and others. We have 6 projects ready to launch if only the Federal Government would join in and demonstrate even the vaguest interest in reducing or eliminating Canada’s carbon footprint. This project takes another step in the wrong direction based on my experience. Why, I cannot fathom.o Vegetation As above the impact on vegetation will be immediate along the double pipeline route and if no mitigation plans are implemented it will be another step in the wrong direction, as my experience has told me that every tree and piece of vegetation we remove from the earth’s surface is another carbon sink that is now negated from the equation. The area that is being impacted could well represent 1,500 sq. Kms. of potential carbon sinks. This only goes to increase the problem when a simple mitigation method could be implemented to cancel out this issue. However, to admit the project needs mitigating would open the entire carbon-dumping subject, right?o Species at risk killer whales are a perfect example of a species that is protected under SARA and one that I have a lot of first hand knowledge of. Working on the waters around Haida Gwaii-Hecate Strait, Dixon Entrance and west coast of Haida Gwaii and Queen Charlotte sound-I had a lot of whales in my everyday life. From my relationship with these cetaceans over many decades it is obvious to me that there are 2 key circumstances that these creatures depend on for a healthy existence: a clean pure marine environment and salmon or marine mammals to eat. If either of these are compromised there aren’t any mitigation methods that can be employed to save them. Once the environment is contaminated the whales are gone. Once their food source is compromised they’re going to starve. These are highly intelligent yet sensitive animals that communicate over many tens of miles. Any negative episode in their territory puts them under extreme stress which makes them vulnerable to disease, and into conflict situations with other pods and therefore at risk from starvation. i.e. they can’t just move as there will be other groups in adjacent areas. I have observed their behaviours in stressful situation and one can tell they are vulnerable to environmental impacts. I have observed first hand a juvenile killer whale impacted by surfacing on some spilt oil/diesel fuel. The subsequent distress calls called in the alarmed parents from 20 miles away from beside my boat. By radiophone I heard the subsequent suffering and eventual death of the juvenile whale. An oil spill or other such incident would be catastrophic to this species. A recent court ruling recognizes this fact-13th Feb. 2012- stating: “The federal minister of fisheries has no discretion when it comes to protecting the critical habitat of B.C.’s killer whales, the Federal Court of Appeal has ruled.” It is critical to the killer whales of our coast that they aren’t exposed to any risk. We have many species of killer whales on our north coast and the same fact applies. The SARA legislation will only be applied to a growing number of species not less.o Marine environment: first it must be recognized that there is a moratorium on oil tanker traffic on the north coast of BC. I’m sure Ottawa thinks that can be dispatched in short order. However, this was initiated by a large dedicated group of people in BC in the 1970’s including the majority of the population here on Haida Gwaii. With a large thriving fishing fleet embracing a knowledgeable group of people in the ways of the marine environment, it was recognized then as now how risky oil tankers and the inherent risk of oil spills would be. This hasn’t changed.Unless one has experienced the Hecate Strait in a storm it is hard to imagine the degree of chaos that thrives there once circumstances come together and let loose their full fury. This is one of the world’s roughest bodies of water because it is shallow, has fast moving tides and the topography of the surrounding land funnels and exaggerates the already vicious winds that are prevalent here. When a low moves in off the north Pacific accompanied by gale force southeast winds, it will begin to intensify as the system compresses up against the mainland Coastal Mountains and shoreline. The counter clockwise spiralling winds fit nicely with the shape and size of the Hecate Strait, which funnel and further compress the winds to even greater ferocity, which will often climb over hurricane force. In winter when an Artic Front moves down into the northern BC and Alberta, the extremely cold dense high elevation air comes up against the mountains and like mercury pours down under this incoming layer and sets up winds that feed on themselves and also build in intensity. Now we have increasing inflow winds meeting the cold katabatic outflow winds, both of which are now at hurricane force. Douglas Channel acts as a funnel for these outflows. Everything meets in the Hecate Strait. With its shallow water and high tidal currents we have an insane situation developing. All it takes is for the tide to change and then all bets are off. It is at these times that the coastal fleet had better not be in the strait or they’re not going home. I have experienced storms in my fishing career where we lost over 25 boats in a few hours with associated loss of life. We had waves of over 30 meters but even more dangerous these aren’t the offshore waves of long frequency, but very high and piled up very close to each other like so many 100 ft. apartment buildings. The ferocity of these situations is unimaginable unless experienced first hand. If you spend enough time on the water these events will catch up to you once in a while. I have first hand knowledge of surviving storm force winds, which is only half way up the scale. In 100 Kms./hour winds having made it out of the Strait to safety, I’ve found kelp in my cross tree 40 feet off the water and sand on my deck from 70 feet of water. Compasses don’t work due to the pitching of the vessel, radars are useless, visibility is near zero and you run on luck and hope your remaining electronics don’t fail. Imagine 250 Kms./hour winds like the one that we experienced on Halloween of 2010. Since these tankers will be running by a different value system the risk factor will rise sharply. I know people think the size of the vessel will make them invulnerable, however a vessel weighing 300,000 tons once lifted by large waves will be very slow to respond to buoyancy once it begins it’s plunge downward. Doubled hulled or triple hulled if it hits something hard everything will break up with that kind of weight driving it. On top of the weather issue, whichever passage the tankers take to circumvent Haida Gwaii they’ll have to pass around either Cape St. James or Rose Spit. Both these marine graveyards have claimed more than their share of vessels and lives over the time I’ve been here. Approaching Rose Spit I’ve often had to point my boat at 55 degrees to the line of travel so that I’m crabbing along. This is due to the fast moving tides, which don’t usually go in the same direction that you want to travel. Imagine the force of this cross tide on a hull 1,100 ft. long. By my rough calculations this force would be 3,000 tons pushing sideways on the hull and the vessel would have to steer accordingly. When the tide suddenly switches direction the tanker will be going in the wrong direction. All it’ll take is one case of human error and the tanker will be on the beach. After all it’s human error that cannot be eliminated from the proposed project no matter what is promised. It was human error that sank at least 15 vessels during my time on the water, and it was human error that sank the Queen of the North and the Exxon Valdez. No matter how many safety systems you build in, you cannot eliminate human error and no one can deny that this fact won’t be in play if this project goes ahead.In the mid seventies there was a platform erected in front of the Langara lighthouse to accommodate the latest weather tracking equipment. Shortly after this pride of the Coast Guard was in place a wave swiped it clean off the cliffs. The platform was 92 feet above the water. Also the Haida Monarch lost all its wheelhouse windows in a storm off Cape St. James a few years later and those windows are about 90 feet off the water. So no matter which end of the islands you’re at, there will be extreme weather and there will be accidents.The main risk though is that no one can do any kind of spill remediation in weather like I’ve described. If there is an incident in one of our frequent storms the clean up response team won’t be even leaving the dock for days let alone trying to clean up a spill. In this scenario the oil will be dispersed far and wide and like the Michigan spill, they’ll be waiting for the weather to improve-only this time the oil is on the move and Haida Gwaii and surrounding areas lose their environment, their economy and their environmental connections. Our remoteness is the final factor. Langara Island is a long way from anywhere as is Cape St. James. No one has the resources to cover all these bases and the remoteness also has the richest environment. By the time the clean up boys arrive it’ll all be over. Understanding as mentioned, that cleaning up oil in whatever form is basically just talk, the results of a spill, from my knowledge, is life killing and very long lasting.What’s at risk? From my knowledge this project will put at risk one of the last surviving and richest marine environments in the world. The tankers will be passing places such as Langara Island where you can witness the first landfall of some of the world’s largest salmon runs, one can observe balls of herring with thousands of tons of fish in them (sonar verified) being harassed by tens of thousands of birds, whales, dolphins, sea lions and seals. In amongst this mass of life you can readily observe unique species of Peregrine Falcons feeding on the birds that are feeding on the herring. With their 3-400 Km./hour dives this is a spectacle all on its own. Over head will be one of the world’s largest concentrations of bald eagles eager to get in on the feast and when a visiting fisherman checks his sounding equipment he doubts what he sees unless he’s an islander. We know the richness of our marine environment and we know the life teeming under the surface. The waters surrounding Haida Gwaii are the spawning ground and nursery for the largest Dungeness Crab stock on the west coast. Newly hatched crab barely the size of a grain of rice can be seen by the billion teaming in the waters if one is fishing at night at the right time. Juvenile black cod, rock fish, halibut, hake, snappers and much more all congregate in our waters because of the nutrient levels and high oxygen content that abound here. Dynamic waters breed dynamic ecosystems and I’ve observed this first hand for decades. It was my workspace, my office and my residence for more than half of every year. To even suggest that risking this is acceptable is like saying it’s OK to smoke while fuelling your car; you might get away with it for so long but in the end you’ll blow up. Canada must not risk this marine jewel-it’s too precious. You will not be able to mitigate a spill if it happens in this environment-no discussion, no debate-it’s all over. o Water, hydrology, and wetlandso Soils, terrain and geologyo Cumulative effects with a spill every 5.5 days over the last 10 years and the announcement by both Enbridge and Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, saying they will spill 24,000 lts. ** of oil/day into the environment of either the pipeline route or the tanker route, the cumulative effect is 8,760,000 lts./year. For those of us depending on a pristine environment not only to enjoy but also to survive, support us and remain healthy that is NOT an acceptable risk. In Alberta or Texas maybe that is a manageable risk, on Haida Gwaii and the North Coast, from my life experience here, that would be devastating. By degrading the environment you degrade the entire subsistence and commercial life style that many of us have hitched our lives to. [** 718,000 bls./day of condensate and bitumen=28,720,000 gallons/day=120,000,000 lts./day or 43,800,000,000 lts./year. Therefore 99.9998% clean record or .0002 % spill rate =24,000 lts./day or 8,760,000 lts./year spill rate]o Effects of the environment on the Project, including geohazards* 4. Socio-economic Effects Potential effects on socio- economic matters, including:o Human occupancy and resource use: the Haida have lived on Haida Gwaii since the beginning. Over the last 70 years a unique population of individuals has joined them because they share the same values and connection to the natural world. It is what Haida Gwaii is. This is the windiest and most earthquake prone place in Canada. It’s called living on the edge due to the dynamic and volatile nature of the location. All of us have developed a connection to the land and marine world because we recognize it is that which sustains us. I have 3 deep freezes in my house, I haven’t bought any protein from the store in a decade and we eat lots of seafood. I know people in my family who eat fish 7 days/week and still say it’s their favourite food in the world. We eat berries, produce and deer meat from the land which in turn grows some of the world’s largest trees that have been directly linked to the practice of our black bears dragging salmon from the rivers into the surrounding bush. This is turn provides the fertilization to produce these giants that were born over 1,000 years ago. We enjoy clean air and healthy food and work closely together to solve our problems. We have seen how outside forces can destroy our lives and now we face this threat. Yes we look at this proposal as a threat as the risks will be carried by us for the benefit of Enbridge. We will have to sacrifice our entire new economy that was developed to replace the traditional one that was removed the last time the Feds came to town.We are the Canadian Public Interest and we do not see the benefits to the Canadian people. The economics don’t add up and to risk our world class environment for such a shaky proposal is senseless. It feels to me that this panel sits here today with a loaded gun to our heads.o Heritage resources o Traditional land and resource use As I’ve touched on, we live with the effects of rising sea levels brought about by the environmental conditions caused by an overload of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. This community we are sitting in is situated on a peninsula in the ocean and so we will be one of the first to be forced to address these effects. This is more than my opinion; we are all living it in this community. This village has been here for millennium, which I’m sure, was addressed yesterday. One of the most immediate worries are the cemeteries both old and new, that are located seaward of us here. My office has just completed a massive clean up and restoration of these ancient and most significant spiritual places. The ocean is already breaking through between these two graveyards and we face the battle with the oceans as we try to preserve these very special places. We are way beyond arguing about the causes of threats such as we face here. Mankind, especially Canadians are emitting too much carbon into the atmosphere that supports life on earth and the oil, bitumen, pipeline industries are a key contributor to this situation. To continue to keep emitting carbon into the atmosphere with no cost to the oil companies and the likes of Enbridge is burying our heads in the sand like an ostrich. We in Old Massett and on Haida Gwaii are already living with the fallout of this worsening situation. However, even though we’re small we are building in mechanisms to address this situation and developing projects to benefit all of mankind. If we can do this, Enbridge certainly can.This panel has an opportunity here to make a stand and outline to the Federal Government and the Canadian People that this industry, if it wishes to keep using our atmosphere as their dumping grounds, should have to pay for that privilege! This is the first step in remediating the entire situation. From my experience this is an obvious first step. In the mean time the cost of doing nothing is already beginning to climb starting on Haida Gwaii. We face a threat to our shoreline by our cemeteries, immediately in front of the community in Masset Sound, along the highway driving here today, the end of our airport and several places on Highway 16 between Tlell and Skidegate, including the picnic ground outlined in the article I presented. Today’s cost to remediate these has climbed into millions of dollars and it’s just beginning. This is basic cause and effect. As Canadians, do we address it or ignore it? I’m asking you today to relay to Ottawa that although this might seem like a simple theoretical annoyance back there, here we are already living with and are battling the effects of doing nothing. Canada leads the world in doing nothing. I know that between both the agencies you three represent you rarely reject a project. To continue that trend today would keep Canada in the 20th century and block the way for my grandchildren to inherit a world from us that is progressive and forward looking.o o Social and cultural well-beingo Human health In Old Massett and on Haida Gwaii we have first hand knowledge of being the recipients of events offshore and overseas. Through Chernobyl and last year’s tsunami in Japan we were directly exposed to radiation blowing across from those continents. Our health was directly affected by the actions of others far away. I know as I have first hand experience of both. As Enbridge and the Conservative government plans to ship the world’s dirtiest oil to the world’s 2 largest growing economies, remember that Haida Gwaii first and then coastal BC are directly downwind of all that unregulated refining. We will experience the effects of their emissions first hand-we know this as it’s happened before. Is only the health of Canadians east of the Rockies of importance? If this panel recommends this project goes ahead you will be directly ignoring the health and well-being of the people here today and on BC’s coast.o Infrastructure and serviceso Employment and economy 5. ConsultationConsultation with the public and Aboriginal groups on the Project Consultation is only consultation if the presenters are heeded. If this panel simply is going through the motions to allow Ottawa to tick off some box on some document, then that’s not consultation. Consultation is a regulatory process by which the public’s input on matters affecting them is sought. Its main goals are in improving the efficiency, transparency and public involvement in large-scale projects or laws and policies. It involves interest groups in the drafting of policy or legislation. It is not consultation if what is said here today is ignored. I have first hand experience engaging this community and seeking input from community members-i.e. Consultation. From this experience, even when I’m someone that is well known and for a reason that will benefit everyone, I found that only about 30% of the residents will show up to a meeting and only about 10% will actually feel comfortable enough to speak up. This is just a fact of life. This doesn’t mean that everyone in the community doesn’t have a concern or point of view. What you see here today represents the minority that feels comfortable enough to attend in front of strangers. I’m here to tell you that from my connection to this community and all the people I deal with I have yet to find anyone who supports this project-not one.However, I have faith that you came here today to gather information and see for yourself how this project might impact us on Haida Gwaii, and impact us it will.6. Financial and Tolling Matterso Proposed differentiated tolling structure and tolling methodologyo Proposed method of financingo Financial responsibility of the applicantThe financial responsibility of the applicant is enormous. Besides the obvious and presented cost of the project and related facilities plus all the repair and maintenance costs and operational costs of the various systems related to the movement of dilbit to China, and the already substantial budget that the proponent has to ‘sell’ the project, mitigation costs can not be covered by Enbridge. Unless the proponent puts up a $200B bond with built in COL adjustments for both the pipeline and the tanker transport, this ‘financial responsibility’ is simply a phrase. Any spill or spills in my experience cannot be cleaned up and the costs of the clean up are mostly borne by the taxpayer-you & I. So in the end this is a Canadian public risk and we here on Haida Gwaii are shouldering the majority of this risk. The applicant bears relatively little responsibility.7. Routingo General route of the pipeline (including the proposed 1 km wide general route corridor) and route selection criteriaI have spent time in some of the area of the proposed pipeline and it is impossible for me to understand why Enbridge would consider putting this environmental icon at risk. It is unique.o General location of the proposed facilities and the siting of the marine terminal8. Design, Construction and Operationo Suitability of the proposed design, construction, operation and abandonment of the facilities recognizing the project risks and challengesI have been involved in risk mitigation and habitat compensation in work with one of Old Massett’s subsidiaries. From my experience, although not on this scale, I have found that the consequences of habitat damage are minimal and the agencies only pay lip service to adhering to the regulations. Once a project is underway, everything is focused at completing the work with sign off by all. Follow up strategies are mainly words and there are no ‘teeth’ in the various acts to enforce or fix anything. The thought of Enbridge ‘abandoning’ any of the pipelines or facilities is horrifying to say the least, but the taxpayer will pay for negative impact, from my experience.o Capacity of the applicant to safely build and operate the proposed facilities in the range of physical conditions along the Rocky and Coastal Mountains and at the Kitimat TerminalFrom my experience the applicant cannot build or operate these pipelines safely. The complexities and unstable nature of the landscape with all the associated water crossings are too challenging and many to expect this to be completed safely without accident. Dumping dilbit into this pristine environment will be catastrophic. The proponent continues to announce that the project is virtually risk free. However, as stated, the .0002% failure rate still dumps an unacceptable amount of hydrocarbons into this unique and iconic fish and wildlife habitat on an ongoing basis.9. Safety, Accident Prevention and Response o Risks of the potential hydrocarbon releases related to the Project including:. Likelihood of failures, accidents and malfunctionsThe proponent has stated publicly that they will dump 24,000 liters/day into this fragile ecosystem. This is not acceptable or sustainable.. Potential release volumes.As stated by Joe Oliver our Federal Minister-24,000 liters/day!. Consequences of any release, including geographical extento Safety measures in place to protect people, communities and the environmentAs I’ve explained under ‘marine environment’ section 3 above, the environment on and around Haida Gwaii is too volatile and dynamic to be able to protect it from oil spills and tanker failure. Mankind or the applicant cannot 100% guarantee there will be no spills or accidents or pipeline failures. Anything less is not acceptable as Haida Gwaii and the coast has everything to lose in such a case.o Whether the proposed risk assessment, mitigation and prevention measures and programs are appropriate for the design, construction, operation and abandonment of the proposed facilitieso Proposed plans and measures for emergency preparedness and responseo Financial resources and other compensation measures available in the event of an accident or malfunctionFrom my experience cleaning up the mess left behind by industrial activity, it is rarely that the majority of the clean up costs are paid by the RP. Once insurance and immediate local and Provincial budgeted resources are expended, the Canadian tax payer will carry the rest. As the costs would be so enormous in the case of a tanker accident, Canadians had better be prepared to pay for the clean up which won’t be successful anyway. With these kind of variables we on Haida Gwaii can not agree to this project as we know the financial resources aren’t there to effectively remediate an accident or malfunction.

Just Posted

CHN to host public meeting tonight about BCTS logging plans

Meeting follows community forest discussions, and dispute over logging near Nadu Road and Lawn Hill

Questions swirl around Q.C. sewage plans

Council to host town-hall meeting this Thursday about the proposed sewage treatment plan

Car crashes are up, and the icy season just arrived

Local police reminding drivers to drive sober and drive to conditions

The Drive Home: Self-bettering through belly buttering

By Chris Williams Have you ever experienced the sheer horror that comes… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Hammy has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

The iconic Prince Rupert buck with a piece of hammock attached to his antlers was caught by COs

Court adjourned again for man linked to Shuswap farm where human remains found

Curtis Sagmoen will appear back in court on Dec. 14

B.C. family advocating for drug decriminalization following death of son

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has noted the New Democrats would decriminalize personal possession of all drugs

Winning Lotto 6/49 purchased in Kelowna

Some lucky man or woman purchased a winning 6/49 ticket in Kelowna.

Most Read