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The war on wild salmon escalated during the Harper years as wild salmon were viewed as mere complications to environmental assessments of resource development projects. A year into the Trudeau Liberal government, it appears little has changed.
A salmon farm like the one proposed can create about the same amount of raw sewage as a city the size of Kelowna. "It's common sense," says Lennie John. "We fish in these waters for food, we don't go into Cermaq's kitchen and leave manure all over the floor."
A lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law said Stephen Harper's new promise doesn’t “undo” over $100 million of budget cuts made to Fisheries and Oceans’ budget in the past three years.
While the Skeena ecosystem has been largely pristine for many years, things may soon change as the area is pegged for rapid commercial and industrial expansion. A suite of major projects are proposed for the region, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, mines, and oil and gas pipelines and the expansion of shipping associated with such projects.
In our view, these regulations allow the ministers to authorize a broad range of pollution with few limits or checks and balances. It is natural to fear that the federal government is preparing to abdicate its responsibilities to protect fish from pollution.
With March 24 marking the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, this disaster provides a lens into considering the Enbridge Northern Gateway project and the risk it poses to wild salmon, one of our country's greatest natural assets.