Sunday, January 02, 2011

Harper restrained by environmentalists

Murray Dobbin in The Tyee, points to the ability of sustained and strong resistance by environmental coalitions to keep Conservative economic single-mindedness in check. For example:
The rejection of the B.C. Prosperity copper-gold mine proposal and the saving of Fish Lake was a good example. Approving the mine in the face of very effective publicity on the part of opponents proved just too much for even Stephen Harper to pull off. Defying many of the pundits' predictions, the Conservatives backed off and actually listened to their own environmental review panel.

Now comes a bigger issue:  The Enbridge Northern pipeline plan:
It's a huge issue. Harper has invested a lot in supporting the project. But the opposition is formidable: an informal alliance of some half dozen environmental organizations, 61 First Nations, and many municipal governments that may well be unprecedented. Eighty per cent of British Columbians are opposed to allowing oil tankers in coastal waters. If Harper gives a green light to the project he will unleash an enormous backlash, and the movement which is now simply campaigning for a rejection of the project by a federal joint review panel will move into higher gear, including civil disobedience.
It would be a public relations nightmare for the Harper government. Enbridge, which between 1999 and 2008 had 610 spills releasing 132,000 barrels of oil, is now pumping dirty oil allied with Alberta's Harper. This against a diverse alliance who want to save the pristine wilderness, B.C. coastal waters and First Nations' livelihood. That alliance also has the backing of all the opposition parties, two of which have put forward private members' bills trying to ban oil tankers (an informal moratorium now exists).
Read more

The Campaign to protect Fish Lake