April 29th panel discussion – Toxic Oil Spill in English Bay: The Truth About Oil Recovery & Long-Term Effects on the Ecosystems

English Bay Oil Spill
As a public service announcement, we’re passing along information about an upcoming panel discussion at SFU on the long term effects of toxic oil on ecosystems. The event is hosted by the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 7:00pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, Vancouver, British Columbia

Description: What about next time? Please come out and join the conversation on how we can protect the Salish Sea!

In response to the oil spill in English Bay on April 8, 2015 we are assembling a panel of experts from various fields who have studied oil spills first hand. We will discuss the health, environmental and social impacts of this oil spill and how we can try to mitigate the risks.

Since oil spills occur all over the world as a by-product of the extraction of resources by huge corporations. Many vulnerable people face substantial risks to their water and land that they rely on for existence. This event is a continuance of the conversation we started at the State of Extraction conference. The aim is to continue the dialogue with the community, indigenous front line land defenders and those with experience with oil spills. We hope to create a space that we can share information, ask and answer important questions and create workable solutions.

Agenda for Evening:
Introduction: Welcome:
Audrey Siegl, Musqueam First Nation
Taylor George-Hollis, Squamish First Nation


Riki Ott is a very well known oil spill expert and author. She has a Ph.D (1985) from the School of Fisheries at the University of Washington, WA, on the effects of heavy metals on benthic invertebrates. She is Co-director of Ultimate Civics, a project of Earth Island Institute. She was an Expert witness in the State of Alaska on certain issues relating to effects, fate and transportation of marine oil spills, and environmentally sensitive areas in the Copper River Delta. She co-founded and was Vice-chair of Oiled Regions of Alaska Foundation (2001–2009) to help Exxon Valdez oil spill claimants with financial management and charitable giving to rebuild oiled communities. She was on site of the Exxon Valdez spill 26 years ago. She is particularly well-versed on the use of dispersants such as Corexit.

Anita M. Burke holds a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and Physics from Northland College, where she was recently awarded their Alumni Environmental Achievement Award. At the University of Minnesota, Ms. Burke completed graduate course work in Physics. Anita has extensive experience responding to and restoring ecosystems ravaged by large scale industrial and natural disasters. Her emergency response experience includes: EXXON Valdez; Shell Refinery – Fidalgo Bay, Washington; Texaco Refinery – Bakersfield California;
Ms. Burke served as General Manager and Senior Project Manager for the waste management and on-land site assessment activities associated with the clean up of the EXXON Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound. She also served as the Chairperson of the Anchorage, Alaska
Hazardous Materials Commission and Chair of the Anchorage Local Emergency Planning Committee under SARA Title III. Ms. Burke also managed ENSR Consulting and Engineering’s Anchorage, Alaska Hazardous Waste Services Division for three years, where she developed an
expertise in arctic exploration and production spill response and environmental issue management. In 2001, Ms. Burke left her career in the oil and gas industry due to complications and health. She has been on the frontlines of some of the world’s most devastating oil spills. She will share her insight into the health effects, ecosystem impacts, and how we can survive and thrive amidst the trauma of the English Bay Oil Spill. She is a trained Incident Commander and holds numerous health and safety certifications.

Michelle MI Wolverine Blondsmith is an amazing activist working to spread the truth about oil/bitumen spills that happened in her backyard. She lived near Enbridge Kalamazoo Spill and therefore has first-hand experience of a bitumen spills, initial spill consequences and can report on the current state of the Kalamazoo river and the residents affected. She has a wealth of experience and information to share on the health impacts of a bitumen spill.

Professor Doug McArthur, Director, School of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University. Prior to joining SFU’s Public Policy Program as a founding member in 2003, Doug McArthur was Senior Fellow in Public Policy at the University of British Columbia. His areas of research and teaching include public policy theory and process, government management, forest and resources policy, First Nations policy and self government, as well as negotiations and strategic planning.

Doors open at 6:30, please come early to guarantee a seat! We will start promptly at 7:00 pm!

Goals and points to be considered by the panelist will include:
1.) The facts of past oil/bitumen spills-what can we learn?
2.) Health Impacts of an Oil/bitumen Spill – what are the physical and emotional effects on the community?
3.) Mitigating Risks: what are some suggestions and strategies to mitigate a spill in the first place.
4.) Strategies to Construct and Implement an Oil/bitumen Spill Response Plan for the Salish Sea (OSRP).

This event was held on Unceded xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish),
and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.

This event will be co-hosted by We Love This Coast group – we are thrilled to be involved!

Oil tanker in Burrard Inlet

Oil tanker in Burrard Inlet

3 thoughts on “April 29th panel discussion – Toxic Oil Spill in English Bay: The Truth About Oil Recovery & Long-Term Effects on the Ecosystems

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