NEWS RELEASE: The Sound of Silence: First Nations Release Oil Spill Commercial Reminding British Columbians of Dangers Oil Tankers

March 24, 2013

Released on the 24th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, powerful television commercial features oil spill footage and iconic song by Simon & Garfunkel

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (March 24, 2013) – The Coastal First Nations today released a television commercial reminding British Columbians of the dangers and costs of bringing oil tankers to BC’s pristine coastal waters.

See the commercial on YouTube:

“We thought it was appropriate to release the commercial on the 24th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska,” said Art Sterritt, Executive Director of the Coastal First Nations. “The Coastal First Nations have banned oil tankers from our traditional territories in the Great Bear Rainforest, and we have invested more than $300 million dollars over the past decade to establish a sustainable economy on the coast.”

The two-minute commercial, which is airing on television stations in Northern BC, as well as social media, was given a helping hand by iconic singer-songwriter, Paul Simon, of the duo “Simon & Garfunkel,” whose label granted the music license for a small honorarium.

“It’s an honour to use Paul Simon’s famous song, The Sound of Silence, to help remind British Columbians of the danger of oil tankers,” said Sterritt. “An oil spill is the sound of silence. It silences communities, it silences cultures and it silences wildlife. That’s what we’ll have in BC if Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline project is approved: A silent coast.”

The commercial opens with the original audio recording of the Exxon Valdez Captain’s radio call to Coast Guard. As the song gains momentum, British Columbians are reminded that they are not alone in their opposition to oil tankers (80% of British Columbians support banning oil tankers in coastal waters), and that an oil spill off BC’s coast would cost billions in clean up costs and lost economic opportunities.

“A lot of people don’t realize that taxpayers will be left paying upwards of $21.4 billion dollars if there’s a spill,” said Sterritt. “Each tanker is owned and operated by a small holding company to limit financial liability. Taxpayers are left holding the bag, and our communities are left with a permanently polluted environment.”

The ad ends with a simple message: “Don’t be silent. Vote for an oil-free coast.”

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