Greg Knox, executive director for SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, doesn’t think an oil refinery proposed today by Black Press owner David Black will change opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline.
“The issues around pipeline spills will remain the same and I don’t think that First Nations and a lot of people in local communities will want to risk their water and salmon for some jobs that we might have for 30 or 40 or 50 years and then they’re gone,” said Knox.
“The other issue that needs to be raised is around what sort of air pollution a refinery would cause in the area.”
Enbridge’s record around oil spills is still a significant concern to people along the pipeline route and the refinery will not deal with that issue at all, he added.
Even though jobs could be around for 30 years or more, that isn’t enough for people to support the pipeline, he said.
“I think First Nations take a much longer view of time, you know, a few decades is not worth destroying our wild salmon population, clean water and air,” said Knox, adding he doesn’t speak for First Nations.
“I think that we have significant industries built around salmon and also people within the local community depend on [salmon for] food,” said Knox.
Another reason is that many people live here because of the amazing natural resources, he added.
“This sounds like we want to turn the northwest into an industrial complex similar to large parts of Alberta and I don’t think that’s what BC [residents] want,” he said.
“Even he (Black) says…if we can’t deal with spill issues in meaningful ways, he doesn’t support the pipeline and everything we’ve seen from Enbridge and other pipeline companies is spills will happen and the environment will be impacted.
“It’s just a matter of when and how bad and I don’t think people are willing to take risks here.”