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Mount Polley eyewitness video

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

It was a dark and stormy night—October 21st—the night of Clayoquot Action’s Mount Polley Eyewitness Report presentation in Tofino. The evening featured Nitanis Desjarlais, Dan Lewis and Bonny Glambeck who had all traveled from the west coast to witness the Mount Polley disaster.

The power was flickering on and off as we set up the projector. Nitanis made the drive out from Port Alberni in harrowing conditions, but arrived safely with time to spare.

The evening was well attended despite the weather. Check out this 30 minute video for a succinct overview of events on and since August 4th—when the tailings dam at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine ruptured.

The evening began with an update by Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations member Joe Martin on Imperial Metals’ activities in Tla-o-qui-aht territory. He also sang a traditional welcome song (not shown in the video).

Cree / Nuu chah nulth filmmaker Nitanis Desjarlais spoke about travelling to the Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp to help Secwepemc First Nations women light the sacred fire at the mine entrance. Her footage clearly showed the courage of these women, and she also documented a field trip to Hazeltine Creek to witness the aftermath. Her presentation is not included in this movie as she is working on a longer film about Mount Polley.

Mount Polley has served as a wake-up call. It seems the BC government and Imperial Metals would prefer if the disaster were forgotten. But Imperial must clean up their mess at Mount Polley, and BC mining policy must be re-written to prevent future disasters.

Certainly, no new mines should be opened until the Mount Polley dust settles—especially Imperial Metals’ proposed mines: Red Chris in Tahltan First Nations territory; Ruddock Creek in Neskonlith territory; and Catface and Fandora in Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations territories, here in Clayoquot Sound.

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Mount Polley eyewitness

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

(This year on BC Day, in the wee hours of the morning, the tailings dam at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine burst. Twenty-five million cubic metres of toxic effluent poured out into Polley Lake, and from there began to rush down Hazeltine Creek into Quesnel Lake.)

I didn’t really want to go to Mount Polley. I felt I had to go—to see for myself how bad things could get if Imperial Metals ever succeeded in opening a similar mine on Catface Mountain in Clayoquot Sound. What I saw broke my heart. Continue reading

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Heading for Mount Polley

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

From the best to the worst BC Day ever
This year on BC Day, I was off paddling near Tofino, camping in Ahous Bay, one of my favourite places in the world. The weather was fantastic, and we caught a glimpse of a wolf when we arrived—a sure sign you’re in the wild. The beach we camped on has a great view of Catface Mountain, traditionally known by Ahousaht First Nations as čitaapii. Catface can be seen from the Whiskey Dock in downtown Tofino (pictured above).

Imagine our horror upon returning home to learn that possibly the largest environmental disaster in BC history had occurred that day at Mount Polley mine, owned by Imperial Metals. The implications for Clayoquot were chilling, as the same company has the same plans for Catface Mountain, right in the heart of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Continue reading

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Salmon farm expansion in Clayoquot Sound

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

2 more salmon farms in Clayoquot?
Cermaq Canada, a Norwegian-owned company, has applied for 2 new salmon feedlots in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. There are already 21 feedlot sites in Clayoquot.

The new feedlots would be located in Ahousaht First Nations’ territories, one in Millar Channel (on the route to Hot Springs Cove), and one in Herbert Inlet (close to the unlogged Moyeha River which has been protected since 1911 in Strathcona Park).

The 2 new Clayoquot Sound feedlots are part of a major expansion of salmon farms on the BC coast. The federal government, which imposed a moratorium on new licenses during the Cohen Inquiry, indicated to the salmon farming industry last October that they had been given a green light, and began accepting new license applications this spring.

Industry poised to increase fourfold Continue reading

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Northern Gateway—the Clayoquot of our times

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action. Photo by Marnie Recker Photography.

It’s time to draw the line
Pundits have been saying that Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project will be the ‘Clayoquot’ of our times. No wonder. There is no more pressing challenge facing our planet and thus humanity than the climate crisis. It’s time to draw the line.

I suspect Prime Minister Harper has no idea that he will be unable to build a pipeline from Alberta to the Great Bear Rainforest. I totally get why he will try to do it—under his leadership Canada has become a petrostate, and doubling tar sands production is the only vision he has for our country. Continue reading

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Oil-free Clayoquot!

Clayoquot Action campaigner Bonny Glambeck is a survivor of the Nestucca oil spill.

The 1989 Nestucca spill hits Long Beach
Her yellow rain gear smeared with crude oil, Valerie Langer is standing on the red carpet in the BC legislature lobby. In her gloved hand is a dead oil-soaked seabird. Flecks of oil hit the freshly painted wall as she gesticulates. A distressed commissionaire scurries about wiping up spots of oil, while explaining that the Environment Minister is not in his office today.

It’s January 1989, just weeks after the Nestucca oil spill. During the holidays, the Nestucca oil barge rammed it’s own tugboat in Washington state after a cable snapped. The US Coast Guard ordered the leaking barge be towed out to sea. 5,500 barrels of oil were spilled. The spill could not be contained or tracked because the oil floated just below the surface. In the early days of January, to everyone’s surprise and horror, the spill began to wash ashore near Tofino. Continue reading

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Tofino Oil Spill—Fossil Fools Day!

Dan Lewis is a founding director of Clayoquot Action.

Happy Fossil Fools Day!

Thanks to everyone who checked out TofinoOilSpill.com! Imagine if this had not been a prank—how would you feel if you heard there was an major oil spill near Tofino—for real? We staged the mock oil spill in Tofino to show the ridiculous reality the fossil fools are pushing. Continue reading

Gold stays in the ground

Long live Fish Lake!

By Joe Foy, Wilderness Committee National Campaign Director

A couple of weeks ago our office at the Wilderness Committee had erupted in a rising babble of excited disbelief. All around me people were frantically logging on to their computers to get confirmation of some seemingly impossible news.

Our federal Environment Minister, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, had announced Continue reading

more precious than gold

More precious than gold

Dan Lewis is a founding director of Clayoquot Action.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations (TFN) continue to oppose proposed exploration for gold in the Tranquil Valley Tribal Park. Last August Vancouver-based Selkirk Metals (owned by Imperial Metals Corporation) was granted a permit despite opposition from TFN. The Tla-o-qui-aht are not satisfied with the level of consultation by the company and the BC government. Continue reading