Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beware the Call of Bay of Fundy's Sirens

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 Oil, coastal quarries, nuclear power, LNG, tidal power ... the call of Bay of Fundy Sirens has become louder and more persistent with each passing year. Even the proven natural wealth of this place and those special niches like the Quoddy Region fall under the spell of this insistent chorus that promises jobs and wealth.

Indeed, we seem unable to learn from our neighbours and friends. Read this familiar sad story from Alaska:

In the early 1970s, Big Oil wooed Alaskans with a seductive chorus promising jobs, riches, and risk-free oil development, pipeline transfer, and tanker transport. Alaska politicians fell under its spell.

Today Big Oil generates more than 85 percent of Alaska's operating revenues - and the song has changed. The tune is now militant and strident, as the industry demands ever more opportunity to drill and ever less regulation. This "opportunity" comes at the expense of deeply rooted indigenous cultures, family lifestyles, and businesses like commercial fishing and tourism that rely on Alaska's abundant natural resources.

But the same enchanting Siren music once tailored to Alaskans is currently playing for Floridians, Californians, and others who live on our seacoasts. From my perspective as a survivor of North America's largest oil spill--the 1989 Exxon Valdez--it seems too many politicians are falling under its spell. My advice to coastal residents in the Lower 48: Take heed.

We learned the hard way that Big Oil's promises were good only until authorizing laws were passed and permits approved. The industry promised, for instance, in the early 1970s to double hull its tankers to minimize the risk of spills. But it will take until 2015 - more than 40 years - for it to make good on this promise. That's too late for those of us in Prince William Sound. Ironically, too, 2015 will arrive long before the last of the toxic oil that spilled from the single-hulled Exxon Valdez is gone from our beaches--and long before our herring even begin to recover.

The once thriving multi-million dollar herring fisheries are nonexistent and the wildlife that feed on herring--well, it will recover whenever the herring recover. Maybe. Scientists make no promises.

It's worth reading the entire article here: Huffington Post, Posted: September 25, 2009 10:43 AM, Beware the Sirens of Big Oil

Photo Credit Odysseus and the Sirens:
Thanks to Vivian N.

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