Stephen Harper claims that science will determine the viability of the Enbridge Pipeline. But he also insists that science must meet his deadline of 2013. However, as the Canadian Press reported yesterday, science will not be able to meet that deadline.
For one thing, the project is massive and requires multiple environmental assessments:
The pipeline is to traverse nearly 1,000 streams and rivers in the upper Fraser, Skeena and Kitimat watersheds.
For another, federal budget cuts have reduced both the human and technological resources needed to make those assessments:
The federal government recently sent letters to 92 habitat staff members within Fisheries and Oceans in B.C., telling them that their positions will be cut. Thirty-two of them will be laid off outright.
The cuts will mean the department in B.C. has half the habitat staff it had a decade ago.
All but five of the province’s fisheries field offices will be cut as part of a $79-million — 5.8 per cent — cut to the department’s operational budget, including the offices in Prince George and Smithers that would have had the lead in monitoring pipeline effects.
Mr. Harper is directly responsible for both of these outcomes. As former Environment Minister David Anderson says,
“You can’t do these studies on the spur of the moment. It takes time to do them. And the federal Fisheries have just been subjected to the most remarkable cuts, so you’re in the throes of reorganization and reassessment and re-assigning people, and on top of it you throw them a major, major request for resources and work.
“It can’t be done.”
Mr. Harper has no intention of doing it. Like the bitumen he is hellbent on selling, he pollutes the truth.
Just a brief note: My wife and I are heading for Nova Scotia to visit family. We'll be back near the end of the month. I'll take a break from blogging until then.
This entry is cross posted at Eradicating Ecocide.