LETTER: Killer whales are the new polar bears, and that’s not good

Hope resident Art Green disagrees with Tom Fletcher about how tankers will affect killer whales

(Re: “Killer whales are the new polar bears of politics,” AHO, March 7, 2019.)

I find it very disingenuous how Mr. Fletcher understates the impact of tanker traffic on our southern orca killer whale population.

That one extra super tanker a day, which Mr. Fletcher refers to, will be of triple capacity compared to the seven tankers a month that currently ply the tricky waters of Howe Sound and the North Pacific. This will actually represent a 428 per cent increase in the number of tankers.

Mr. Fletcher reports that the increase in tanker traffic only represents a five percent increase in total seaport traffic. This equation represents everything that floats, including kayaks and sailboards.

Our resident orca killer whale population is extremely important to the overall ecosystem of the North Pacific, and is on the verge of extinction. Why would any government risk this very sensitive population over an export product that has minimal value to the overall economy?

Building pipelines to export raw bitumen, a product that nobody wants unless we give it away, has minimal economic benefits. If we were truly serious about growing our petroleum industry, we’d be building refineries and value-adding our industry. We then could be exporting refined product, which is environmentally safer and exponentially more profitable. Value-adding our natural resources also creates thousands of good-paying jobs.

We will especially need this industry in the conversion to clean and renewable energy systems, which will ultimately prove to be the greatest economic catalyst the world will ever see.

There is one point that I can agree with Mr. Fletcher, and that is both the polar bears and the resident southern orcas are in jeopardy, at the expense of mainstream political parties who hold false political rhetoric over the overall health of the planet.

-Art Green, Hope


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