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First Nations question the economic toll of shipping through the Salish Sea – National Observer

January 26th 2024

Tsawout First Nation councillor John Paul Etzel stood up and posed a central question for hundreds of people gathered this week to preserve the future health and prosperity of the Salish Sea.

At what cost do we pursue economic growth when faced with the anticipated surge in oil tanker and shipping traffic when the Trans Mountain pipeline and Roberts Bank terminal expansion projects come online?

The numbers around how much vessel traffic will increase vary, said Etzel, but his nation on southeastern Vancouver Island is already feeling ecological and cultural impacts from shipping right now.

Despite steep declines in salmon populations, Tsawout fishers still rely on their territorial waters to provide food, but pollution from nearby marine corridors is affecting harvesting grounds.

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