Northern Gateway: Isn’t it time to reject the past and embrace the future?

June 17, 2014Today the federal cabinet approved the Northern Gateway Tar Sands pipeline.It’s a decision that could define our times. We are witnessing the final stages of a protracted wrestling match between our future and our past.Can we afford to let this decision stand? Aren’t our children–born and unborn–depending on us?I’m not going to go into all the reasons why we must end our fossil fuel addiction, and move on to a clean energy future. You’ve heard it before.But this decision could be different. It could be a game-changer. The Northern Gateway Tar Sands pipeline could be a turning point because of the huge opposition in British Columbia —unparalleled in Canadian history:130 First Nations and over 10,000 residents have said NO! They told the environmental assessment panel that it was simply too risky and they wanted nothing to do with it. Period.Over 300 independent, respected scientists asked the government to reject the conclusion of the panel based on numerous scientific errors and dubious assumptions.There are at least five legal challenges from First Nations, with many more in works.The panel charged with reviewing the scheme ultimately approved the Tar Sands pipeline anyways, despite making over 200 of their own ‘recommendations’ (concerns).Christy Clark’s provincial government now holds all the cards. Clark, too, had a number of concerns—in fact, she set out 5 conditions that would need to be met before the 60+ required licenses and permits would be granted by her government.Those conditions clearly haven’t been met, so what’s next?We were at a similar crossroads a decade ago when the government of Alberta fought tooth and nail against then-Prime Minster Chretien’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Since that time Canadians have been repeatedly misled on climate change: “Action is coming” … “Regulations are coming” we were told by a succession of federal governments, but all we got were more Tar Sands mines and more of the dirtiest oil on Earth. Classic bait and switch, petro style.The battle over the Northern Gateway and Keystone Tar Sands pipelines is the defining moment of our time, and the world is watching.Rejecting these dirty and dangerous Tar Sands pipelines can end the suicidal petro cycle in which we’ve been ensnared.This is an opportunity for our leaders to abandon their reckless pandering to international oil companies and get down to the job of building a green and safe future for our children.Isn’t it time to reject the past and embrace the future? The science is done and the jury is in: the world cannot afford anymore dirty Tar Sands oil.You can stand up and be heard, today. Please send an email to Christy Clark right now!CLICK HERE TO EMAIL THE BC PREMIERJohn Bennett, National Program DirectorSierra Club Canada Foundation1501-1 Nicholas StreetOttawa, Ontario K1N 7B7jb@sierraclub.caJohn on Twitter / Bennett BlogRELATED:When the dealin's done…Bennett Blog (May 22, 2014)