EDITORIAL: Sky not falling

Despite the crying on May 15 and the dire predictions, two resources-related projects have been given the thumbs down

The ink isn’t even dry on the ballots, the MLAs yet to be officially sworn into office, but it’s clear now there was a lot of Chicken Little talk going on during and just after the provincial election.

If you believed the dire warnings of some, and the crying May 15, the election of the B.C. Liberals meant tankers up and down the coast, pipelines criss-crossing the province, a coal mine outside every town.

We were all going to environmental hell, said the detractors. Oh yeah, and the sky is falling, too.

Well, let’s review what has transpired in the scant 21 days since the B.C. Liberals won a surprising majority, and the spin games being subsequently played. It seems what some people want just isn’t good enough when they get if from someone they don’t like.

Two days after the provincial election, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) sent the Raven coal mine proposal back to the proponents with 114  pages of questions to answer if there was ever going to be a chance for this to even make a single  step toward reality.

In essence, it was a rejection of Raven’s application. Compliance Coal says it will do further work and re-submit, but the less-than-encouraging message from the government was clear. Would the EAO have come to the same decision regardless of the party in power? We want to believe science is what ruled the day so yes, but if the decision went the other way, you can bet your life the B.C. Liberals would have been the target of all the blame throwing.

Late last week, Premier Christy Clark announced her government’s opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Said the Pembina Institute: “It is clear that (Clark) has listened to the concerns of British Columbians, considered the evidence presented by Enbridge and found the proposal fails to address the province’s environmental concerns.”

Said NDP Leader Adrian Dix: “The B.C. Liberals signed away decision-making authority to Ottawa in 2010 and that has not changed. We know Ottawa continues to support the project, so saying ‘no’ today is a toothless gesture and the Liberals know it.”

So, the feds are going to allow for this pipeline to be built regardless of B.C.’s opposition? Just going to ram it through and bulldoze the protestors who will likely show up in the hundreds or even thousands now that they have the backing of their provincial government?

Stranger things have happened and we wouldn’t put it past this particular prime minister to plow ahead despite our province’s opposition, but then again, we also don’t see the sky falling like some others do.

— Editorial by John Harding