BC Orcas have a Kinder Morgan problem

British Columbia’s Southern Resident Orcas have faced continual danger in the last century, and just when they thought they were safe, they face the largest threat yet – Kinder Morgan.

Orcas - FB Share

The Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal threatens to decimate the entire population of Southern Resident Orcas. These are a coastal British Columbia species that can be seen every spring swimming up the coast following the salmon migration, a highly important species for Coast Salish First Nations and an iconic symbol of British Columbia itself. And with one approval – the entire population could be gone.

Orca Screenshot

The Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline will increase tanker traffic by 700%. Orcas are extremely sensitive to noise pollution. The noise generated by oil tankers disrupts their communication and ability to find fish. As a result their food intake and breeding are disrupted. Studies predict that within 50 years of the project — even without an oil spill — the Orca population will likely be extinct.

The Southern resident orcas have three pods -- J, K, and L pod. Each pod has unique characteristics. Granny, a 105-year-old Southern Resident is a member of K pod, and the oldest known living orca.

These orcas have survived hunting and live trapping – facing huge population decline for the sake of game-hunting and marine parks. Have they survived this far only to be wiped out by the last gasps of the oil industry?  

Our world is changing quickly and we know that 100 years from now we won’t be using oil.  What we don’t know is where there will be any Orca whales left. It is up to us to decide and the next big decision is this: Will we allow Kinder Morgan to build this dangerous pipeline?