Target: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Goal: Formulate and implement habitat protection and recovery strategies to ensure the survival of various endangered species of Canadian wildlife threatened by the construction of a new oil pipeline
An important feature of Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) is that it presents a framework for protecting a number of endangered and vulnerable species through the creation of recovery strategies for specific animal populations. These strategies protect habitats and propose methods of ensuring the recovery and survival of species in the event of disasters such as oil spills. However, the government has failed to release these strategies after continuous years of delay – a violation of the mandatory timelines outlined in the act.
The issue sees renewed urgency as the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project becomes a reality. Enbridge Inc. aims to create twin pipelines that would stretch from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia. Environmental groups point out that by constantly delaying the mandatory recovery strategies, it is in fact making it “easier for big projects… to speed through regulatory review” without needing to concern themselves about the consequences to wildlife. Not only has Enbridge already had numerous pipeline spills, but the pipeline affects many species supposedly protected by the act. The four most endangered by the pipeline are the Pacific humpback whale, the southern mountain caribou, the marbled murrelet, and the Nechako white sturgeon – all four of which have had their recovery strategies overdue by at least three years. All four also reside in habitats which fall directly along the proposed pipeline and shipping route.
Aside from these, the government has delayed recovery strategies for 188 other at-risk species, and over 87 recovery strategies are more than five years overdue. As a result, the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada, Sierra Club B.C., Wilderness Committee and Wildsight are together suing the federal government. Demand that the Canadian government correct this gross oversight and begin by immediately releasing the recovery strategies for the four species identified above. It is necessary that they follow this by implementing the rest of its many delayed strategies and a full implementation of the Species at Risk Act.
Dear Prime Minister Harper,
Your government has continuously delayed the release of the recovery strategies for many species protected by the Species at Risk Act, in direct violation of the mandatory timelines outlined by the act. This in itself is cause for alarm, but now more than ever, four of the species are in extreme danger. The habitats belonging to the Pacific humpback whale, the southern mountain caribou, the marbled murrelet, and the Nechako white sturgeon all lie directly within the proposed path of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project.
Immediate action is necessary in order to ensure the survival of these species. Despite the time and resources the government has spent promoting this pipeline, not one of these four species recovery strategies has been released despite being at least three years overdue. The presence of the pipeline is enough cause for concern without the threat of spills, which Endbridge Inc. is not immune to.
Please, see to it that the recovery strategies for at least these four species are immediately released and implemented so that they need not live in fear of extinction. It is additionally necessary that the rest of the Species at Risk Act be faithfully adhered to and that all delayed strategies be created and released at once.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Sam Beebe, Ecotrust