What’s the Latest?
As the US continues to sit on the Keystone oil pipeline–a project which would send crude oil taken from Canada’s oil sands to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico–Canada seems to have grown impatient. Known as the Northern Gateway project, Canada’s government has approved 731 miles of pipeline expected to transport 525,000 barrels a day to Asia-bound tankers. Although 130 First Nations groups in British Columbia and hundreds of scientists have stated their opposition, Prime Minister Stephen Harper insists that Canada must diversify its oil sands production.
What’s the Big Idea?
At the heart of the debate over Canada’s oil sands is a question: “to what extent should economic growth and the development of natural resources be prioritised over protection of the environment and traditional ways of life?” The proposed pipeline would travel over Aboriginal land, whose leaders have never signed treaties with the national government, leaving ownership of the land in legal question. Environmental groups worry that an oil spill similar to the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill off of Alaska, “would be catastrophic to the area, especially those who fish crab in its waters.”
Read more at the BBC
Photo credit: Aleksey Klints/Shutterstock