Missteps give B.C. residents no reason to trust companies or government
Could there be a worse time in B.C. to have a tailings pond disaster?
Never mind that the salmon are spawning. A wee debate is taking place in this province about whether to sanction a pipeline to the coast and tanker transport of bitumen along B.C.’s coastline.
Albertans, hoping to get their petroleum to the West Coast, must be as distressed as British Columbians at the Aug. 4 breach of the Mount Polley tailings pond. Or they should be.
That is because this environmental catastrophe is bound to have a chilling effect on those in B.C. who otherwise might have been open to being convinced that — should Enbridge comply with the province’s five conditions and the 209 imposed by a federal review panel — well, maybe the job-generating Northern Gateway project would be worth the presumably diminished risk.
Not now. A slurry of metal-laden sand and waste water from that Imperial Metals tailings pond could well be mistaken for bitumen, with its greyish colour and ability to carry timber and other detritus along with it on its determined path.
This is what happens when goop mixes with water. A water ban, barring both drinking and bathing, was put in place in the vicinity of the breach and aboriginal fishers now fear for the season’s salmon run.