Bill 4 Passes: B.C. Parks Now Officially Open…To Pipelines and Drilling
by Carol Linnitt, DESMOG CANADA
A little-known Bill, the Park Amendment Act, that will drastically alter the management of B.C. parks is set to become law today [it has now passed], creating controversy among the province’s most prominent environmental and conservation organizations. The passage of Bill 4 will make way for industrial incursions into provincial parklands including energy extraction, construction of pipelines and industry-led research.
The Bill, quietly introduced in mid-February, has already met significant resistance in B.C. where the Minister of Environment received “thousands of letters” of opposition, according to Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s Peter Wood. “There has been absolutely zero public consultation, and the pace at which this was pushed through suggests this was never a consideration,” he said in a press release.
Outdoor Recreation Council of BC News Release:
Monday, April 8, 2013
Peace River tops BC’s most endangered rivers list for 2013 - Lower Fraser and Elk Rivers follow close behind
Columbia River Treaty negotiations are underway. The treaty, written in 1964, is immensely important to the Kootenays and the USA for flood control, electricity generation, the economy and the environment. But the dams built as a result of the treaty created huge environmental impacts such as the flooding of massive mountain valleys, huge mud flats that cause dust storms, destruction of fish species….in addition to the devastating impacts to local residents. The main flow of the Columbia is reported to have 14 dams and 470 dams on its tributaries, and is one of the most heavily managed water systems on earth.
Interesting details and background can be heard on recent audio podcasts on the CBC Daybreak South website, including the story of 3 people that canoed the 2000km upstream on the Columbia!
Site C dam is a controversial project that will create relatively clean electricity and revenue for BC. Of course the environmental and social costs are great as well. A very fertile and culturally important valley would be flooded. Public hearings began on Dec 9th, 2013.
The Peace River flows out of a man made reservoir called Williston Lake, formed by the WAC Bennett dam. The lake’s tributaries are the Findlay, Parsnip and Peace which many of us know about through tripping reports from our RCABC instructors. Paddle for the Peace, where canoeists and kayakers paddle the stretch of river to be affected is an annual event to raise awareness of the 40 year struggle over Site C.
The electricity generated would benefit mining and natural gas production in BC, and growing population. However with all the controversy surrounding resource extraction and the vast potential for energy conservation, many feel Site C dam is unnecessary. We have many questions to ask ourselves about our desire to have a thriving economy versus our desire to have a healthier environment.