Oil spills discussed at seminar

NANAIMO: Toxicologist says clean energy forms are needed

Concerns surrounding oil spills drew more than 100 people to Vancouver Island University Aug. 2 to hear renowned marine toxicologist Riki Ott.

Ott detailed her experience with oil spills and the effects she has seen first-hand on both human and marine populations over the past 23 years.

The presentation, hosted by Sierra Club Nanaimo, attracted listeners from Duncan to Qualicum Beach who are worried about the threat of oil spills posed by both Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain projects.

Ott stated emphatically that no definitive methods exist for reversing the damage caused by oil spills or for preventing their occurrence.

Nanaimo was the first stop on her 10-community Think Tankers … and What Comes with Them tour.

She described her research into the 1989 oil spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound when the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground and the more recent spills along the Gulf Coast and in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.

Ott said the dispersants used during containment operations for spills are causing long-term health problems to both human and animal populations. Her research has demonstrated that oil continues to be an environmental pollutant in Prince William Sound 23 years after the spill, resulting in the once thriving herring fishery there remaining closed as stocks have failed to recover.

Ott also encouraged citizens to work toward transforming dependence on fossil fuels to developing clean energy options including wind, solar, tidal, and geo-thermal sources of energy.

Sierra Club Nanaimo is focused on informing the public about issues involving both Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline projects as well as educating and encouraging the public to work toward the establishment of a clean energy infrastructure for British Columbia.

Sierra Club Nanaimo welcomes involvement from all residents of the mid-Island who wish to work toward a clean energy future for British Columbia.