No to Roberts Bank Expansion

Reference Number

I teach Salish Sea Studies courses at Western Washington University. I have used the proposed Roberts Bank terminal expansion projects as case studies in recent years to introduce students to environmental impact assessments, Indigenous lands and rights, and cumulative impacts of development on the shared waters of the Salish Sea. We look at materials from proponents and opponents of the project, including the Port of Vancouver, the WSANEC and Semiahmoo Nations, and the letter from the US EPA and testimonials from the Lummi Nation expressing concern about the project and its long-term effects.

I ask students to consider what voice and say, if any, they have as non-Canadian Salish Sea residents about projects proposed right at the Canada-US border that will affect the shared waters and shared future of the Salish Sea ecosystem. I ask them to consider how Indigenous nations and nationhood are considered and weighed in relation to economic arguments from proponents of the project. We examine the Xwe'chi'eXen (Cherry Point) coal terminal expansion proposal and permit denial as well as the ongoing Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion initiative to compare and contrast these projects, Indigenous law and rights frameworks, and cumulative impacts of Salish Sea development. 

We also read the State of the Salish Sea report, written by Dr. Kathryn Sobocinski and published by the Salish Sea Institute in 2021. The report warns of the unrelenting stresses of regional urban development and global climate change impacts on the Salish Sea ecosystem.

The State of the Salish Sea report, my teaching work in Salish Sea Studies, and attention to local Indigenous concerns about the Roberts Bank proposal all convince me that this project should not move forward. In fact, the proposed expansion raises urgent questions about how future development initiatives like these will be examined in ways that address cumulative, ecosystem-wide, and cross-border impacts. This review period is an opportunity to say no to initiatives that do not take these considerations into account -- this proposal does not, and should not be approved. 

Thank you,

Dr. Natalie JK Baloy

Associate Director of Transboundary Initiatives

Salish Sea Institute, Western Washington University

Submitted by
Salish Sea Institute - Western Washington University
Public Notice
Public Notice - Public Comments Invited on Additional Information and Potential Conditions
Date Submitted
2022-03-05 - 12:47 PM
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