Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there.

Business is business, and business must . . .

Please know that in reference to the graphic and words above, I am not trying to be provocative nor glib.

It would be easy to avoid providing comment on the latest developments around the potential expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline but this is counter to what I am trying to achieve as The Marine Detective​. This is all about empowerment for change that serves future generations.

Thereby, below are my thoughts resulting from now having reviewed what I could of the National Energy Board’s “Reconsideration Report for Trans Mountain Expansion Project“.

It is respected that there is solid reporting and acknowledgement that “the designated Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects” (detail below). However, I cannot respect the rationale along the lines of: there is already so much bad stuff happening that doing more bad stuff is justified. Nor do I agree with the conclusion that approval of the Project is in the interest of Canadians and the Board’s final recommendation that “the Governor in Council approve the Project by directing the issuance of a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC, subject to 156 conditions.”

This all reveals the lack of appropriately valuing future generations of humans, let alone endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.

Many of you will get my reference to The Lorax, where despite the knowledge of environmental impacts when seeing starving and stressed animals, the Once-ler says:

“I, the Once-ler, felt sad

as I watched them all go.

BUT . . .

business is business!

And business must grow . . .”

What to do?

Keep at it with political and consumer choices and supporting legal / First Nations challenges that do consider the health of future generations and transitioning from a fossil fuel based economy to alternatives that do not contribute to climate change.

To stay with the Seussian theme and wisdom, if you’ve read this far you are one of those who “cares a whole awful lot.”

A whole lot of people caring a whole awful lot is what creates change that does benefit future generations.


Below are sections from the National Energy Board’s “Introduction and Disposition (an excerpt from the Reconsideration Report)” which can be found at this link.

Pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) the Board is of the view that the designated Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. Specifically, Project-related marine shipping is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on the Southern resident killer whale, and on Indigenous cultural use associated with the Southern resident killer whale. This is despite the fact that effects from Project-related marine shipping will be a small fraction of the total cumulative effects, and the level of marine traffic is expected to increase regardless of whether the Project is approved. The Board also finds that greenhouse gas emissions from Project-related marine vessels would result in measureable [sic] increases and, taking a precautionary approach, are likely to be significant. While a credible worst-case spill from the Project or a Project-related vessel is not likely, if it were to occur, the environmental effects would be significant . . . ”


The evidence in the MH-052-2018 hearing is clear that the Salish Sea is not the healthy environment it once was. It is subject to a number of stressors, including vessel traffic and resulting noise, environmental contaminants, and a decline in salmon. The causes for the current state of the Salish Sea are numerous and diverse, and these effects have accumulated over time. There appears to be no serious controversy among the Parties with regard to these points, nor does there appear to be any serious controversy that Project-related marine shipping is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. This is despite the fact that Project-related marine shipping would comprise a relatively small increase in the total vessel traffic in the Salish Sea, and that increased pressure on the Salish Sea and its marine life can be anticipated regardless of whether the Project proceeds . . . ”


Given the cultural, environmental, and commercial importance of the Salish Sea, the Board has adopted an holistic approach to its consideration of the designated Project and how it fits into the wider context of the many current stressors on that body of water, the marine animals and fishes within it, and the people who derive cultural use, livelihood, or pleasure from it. The Board concludes that, while Project-related marine shipping’s incremental addition to cumulative effects on the Salish Sea will not be large, it will add to already significant effects.”


  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca): recovery strategy 2018. See Section 4 for “Threats”. There are many but the main threats are recognized to be prey availability (in particular, Chinook Salmon), chemical and biological pollutants and physical and acoustic disturbance. These are synergistic i.e. if the whales do not have enough Chinook, the fat-soluble toxins (both historic and emerging) enter their systems impacting immunity and ability to reproduce. If the whales are stressed by acoustic and / or physical disturbance, this can impede their ability to hunt, to fight disease and to carry out other essential life processes like nursing and resting. 



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