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Salish Sea Sentinel | April 8, 2020

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‘We have so much to lose’: working together on oil spill response

Coast Salish leaders from Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council member nations see an opportunity to form an oil spill response task force in light of increasing risks to the coast.

And according to retired Canadian Coast Guard superintendent Don Rodden – it’s not a matter of if there’s a spill, but when.

Don Rodden spoke at a NmTC board of directors’ meeting in Tsawwassen territory on May 25.

At the meeting, NmTC staff agreed to look into oil spill response training opportunities.
“It’s a case of, the cliché is, risk management,” Rodden said.

Halalt Chief James Thomas agreed, underlining the need for teamwork among coastal communities.

“We all need to be on the same page,” Thomas said. “It’s coming, at the end of the day, and we need to make sure we’re prepared for it.

Snuneymuxw Councillor Doug White II, Snaw-naw-as Councillor Chris Bob, Klahoose Councillor Billy Barnes and Stz’uminus councillor Terry Sampson also expressed interest in working together on spill response preparation, given the government’s approval of Kinder Morgan.

“We have so much to lose,” Barnes noted about the shellfish and other rich resources on the coast.