Renowned oil spill expert to speak in Hardy

Dr. Ott will bring her expertise to Port Hardy to discuss the dangers of oil tankers.

PORT HARDY—Living Oceans Society and First Nation organizers and will sponsor Dr. Riki Ott, a renowned oil spill expert and activist, for a presentation on oil-tanker traffic Aug. 4 at the Quarterdeck Inn in Port Hardy.

The stop is part of Ott’s “Think Tankers — and What Comes with Them” speaking tour throughout British Columbia in August.

It is a continuation of Ott’s first major tour in B.C. in March 2009. During the August tour, she hopes to further build the international cross-cultural resistance to Alberta tar sands development and oil drilling in general. She works by sharing stories – her personal stories of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and stories of accidental activists from other oil spill disasters.

“I spent a year in Gulf of Mexico communities after the BP oil disaster, warning people what to expect based on my experience with the Exxon Valdez oil spill,” Ott said. “In Cordova, Alaska, we learned that the oil industry does not know how to clean up oil; there would be a cover up, not a cleanup. Sure enough, people in the Gulf are sick, wildlife is sick, tons of oil is still everywhere, and the government and oil industry are working together to minimize the appearance of damages and BP’s response costs.”

Ott found this same story of deception and harm is repeating in Michigan communities after the Enbridge Pipeline tar sands spill in July 2010. Ott is working with community organizers in Michigan to launch a pilot community health survey in areas impacted by the tar sands spill.

“I want to share these stories and experiences with people in British Columbia because you still have a chance to prevent the harms that have happened in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and Michigan. It’s far better to fight to stop the pipelines and tankers now than to lose your health, your traditional foods, and your families after a spill.”

A meet and greet beginning at 5 p.m. in the Quarterdeck’s pub will precede the presentation, which begins at 7 pm. The event is free but space must be reserved at yetzkorn@livingoceans.org.