Troubled Waters

Here is an email from Wilderness Committee that I would like to share:

Troubled Waters

Hi Eldy,

I have just returned from two weeks in British Columbia’s northern  interior, documenting issues impacting the region’s fresh water. I’ve been  travelling with the Wilderness Committee’s climate campaigner, Eoin Madden, and  videographers David Lavallee and Jeremy Williams. (See our road-trip blog here).  We’ve spoken to community leaders and to every day folks trying to live their  lives under the shadow of some very big threats.

Our first stop was the beautiful Peace River Valley where  farmers, First Nations and conservationists have banded together to defend  against the proposed Site C dam. A wonderful annual event called Paddle for the  Peace drew more than 400 people to travel down the river in canoes, kayaks and  all manner of small boats. Then paddlers gathered together in a river-side farm  field for an afternoon of food, fun, and powerful words from community leaders.  The speeches from First Nations were especially inspiring!

If the Site C dam  were to be built it would flood over 100 kilometres of valley bottom lands –  including more than 6,000 hectares of farmland. Some of these beautiful  farms have been in local families for generations. Sacred First Nations sites  would be drowned and important wildlife corridors would be severed. Earlier dams  on the Peace River have caused local fish populations to be contaminated by  mercury and have resulted in the near disappearance of a local caribou herd.  These all were once important sources of clean healthy food for the surrounding  tribes. Let’s support the people who are working to save what’s left. Click here  to take action and help stop Site C!

After Paddle for the Peace,  we left the valley bottom to follow the gravel roads  leading to BC’s Gas Empire, where the deadly practice of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”)  is spreading across the land. The gas industry  is sucking up millions of litres of clean fresh water from just about every  source you can imagine. Pipes suck water from the massive Williston  Reservoir, BC’s biggest source of fresh water. Pipes also snake into community  water supply rivers. Even the smallest little creek will often have a pipe and  a pump chugging away, draining its life into a plastic lined frack water  impoundment.

Why all the water sucking? The industry uses the water by first  mixing it with a deadly cocktail of chemicals, then injecting it deep  underground at extreme pressure to fracture rock layers and free the gas.

We saw (and smelled) what happens to the polluted water  next. The rusty-coloured, foul-smelling mixture is collected and held in  massive pits. Strips of foil flutter in the breeze around these sites in a  feeble attempt to scare off birds who may attempt a fatal drink. As an added  wildlife repellant, propane-fueled cannons explode now and then, giving the  whole scene a weird war-on-nature feel.

Widespread fracking is new in BC, only a few years old. We  need to end it – before it ends our clean water. Click  here to tell the BC government to put the brakes on BC’s  gas industry!

The final stop on our journey was Williams Lake, where the  federal Environmental Assessment hearings were just getting started regarding  Taseko’s New Prosperity mine. The Tsilhqot’in Nation and its supporters put on  an amazing event in a local park just prior to the start of the hearings. Chief  after Chief from all parts of the province called for the mine project to be  stopped, reminding the crowd that for Canada to allow the project to go forward  without Tsilhqot’in consent would be theft.

The Tsilhqot’in are  rightfully concerned that the proposed mine would put the future of local  waters like Fish Lake and the Chilcotin River at risk from toxic pollution.To  write to the Environmental Assessment Agency about the proposed New Prosperity  mine, click here!

All of these stories could end up two ways – happy or sad. I  am betting that you want what we want: clean water, healthy communities and  justice for people and nature. Please write to our decision-makers today, and  join the call for a happy ending.

Enjoy the summer!

For the wild,

Joe Foy | National Campaign Director Wilderness Committee

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Thank you for supporting wilderness.

The Wilderness Committee is Canada’s largest membership-based,  citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization

These are very important issues well worth the time to Take Action on!


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