Marine biologist will warn Comox Valley about dangers of oil spills

Fefore the Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project public hearings in Comox, Dr. Riki Ott will speak.

One week before Round Two of the Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project public hearings in Comox, Dr. Riki Ott will be the featured speaker at a public meeting in Courtenay.

Ott, a marine biologist who has spent the past 23 years dealing firsthand with oil spills and their effect on the environment, will speak Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Lower Native Sons Hall. The address is sponsored by the World Community Development Education Society.

A resident of Cordova, Alaska, Ott earned her PhD in 1985 from the University of Washington’s School of Fisheries with emphasis on effects of heavy metals on benthic invertebrates. She was a fisher in Alaska in 1989 at the time of the Exxon Valdez spill.

A trained marine toxicologist and former commercial fisher, she has written two books on oil spill impacts to ecosystems, people, and communities, and starred in Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez, an award-winning feature film.

In 2009, Ott co-founded Ultimate Civics, a project of Earth Island Institute, and the national grassroots coalition MoveToAmend.org.

In May 2010, Ott brought her expertise to the Gulf of Mexico, volunteering for one year to expose a public health crisis of chemical illness and to help with local community organizing.

She is speaking in Courtenay on the dangers to human health, communities and the environment posed by pipelines and oil spills, one week before a scheduled two days of hearings at the Comox Recreation Centre on Aug. 10 and 11, starting at 9 a.m. each day.

The Polaris Institute reported in 2008 that Enbridge’s own data revealed 610 spills from Enbridge pipelines from 1999 to 2008. The July 2010 spill of diluted bitumen (the product that Enbridge wants to pipe from Alberta to Kitimat) in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan was, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “the largest inland oil spill in Midwest history”, of at least 840,000 gallons of oil.

On July 10, a press release issued by the Office of Public Affairs of the US National Transportation Safety Board states, “This investigation identified a complete breakdown of safety at Enbridge.

“Their employees performed like Keystone Kops and failed to recognize their pipeline had ruptured and continued to pump crude into the environment,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.

The full report is not yet complete but a synopsis can be seen at www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2012/marshall_mi/index.html.

Under the theme Our Coast, Our Decision! No Pipeline, No Tankers! local environmental activists, artists, musicians, everyone is encouraged to use the time from Aug. 3 to 10/11 to creatively demonstrate their determination to protect the environment and defend the right of First Nations and all residents of B.C. to make the decision on the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.

For more information on Dr. Riki Ott, visit www.rikiott.com.

For more information on the Joint Review Panel, see http://gatewaypanel.review-examen.gc.ca.

For more information on the Courtenay/Comox events, phone 250-337-5412, e-mail bseed2000@yahoo.ca and on Facebook see Our Coast, Our Decision — public meetings and events.

— World Community Development Education Society

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cumberland is considering downtown densification proposals, and with that comes questions around parking, among other things. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Water bottling ban, parking key changes for Cumberland zoning

Bylaw on amendments still need adoption following March 2 hearing

Arzeena Hamir, working her booth at the Comox Valley Farmers Market. LUSH Valley was recognized last month as a partner of the year by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. Photo by Bill Jorgensen
LUSH Valley recognized for collaboration with Comox Valley Farmers’ Market

They won Partner of the Year award by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

Chelsea Harry was last seen Feb. 21. Photo via Comox Valley RCMP
Comox Valley RCMP seeking help locating a missing woman

Missing person last seen in Courtenay on Feb. 21

A Coast Range Cannabis store has been approved for the Crown Isle Shopping Centre in Courtenay. Photo submitted
Courtenay council approves seventh cannabis retailer

Coast Range Cannabis to open second store in the Comox Valley

A map of the Village Forest Lands near Cumberland. Image, Village of Cumberland
Cumberland adopts forest management direction statement

Less detailed than full plan, documents sets out decision-making for village-owned land

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

This was the scene outside North Saanich’s Parkland Secondary School after an attempted but unsuccessful break-and-enter into the school torched an ATM inside of it. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP did not make any arrests and currently lack suspects as the investigation continues. Members of the public who may have witnessed something or possess other information can contact police at (250) 656-3931 or to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. (Submitted)
Money to burn: burglars torch North Saanich high school ATM

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school after early morning break-and-enter

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

Most Read