Islands' Sounder


Treaty signed to protect waters

April 4, 2013 · 9:57 AM

Stephanie Buffum of FRIENDS of the San Juans signs the “International Treaty to Protect the Sacred” with Chief Phil Lane of the Ihanktonwan Dakota and Chickasaw Nations. / Paul Anderson photo

Thirty-five participants from First Nations tribes, U.S. tribes, Canadian and American NGOs came together on March 22, to discuss current and proposed vessel traffic that would ship tar sands and coal through the Salish Sea, and the associated increased risk of an oil spill. The purpose of this gathering was to build a coalition of Canadian and U.S. partners for the protection of the Salish Sea. The Safe Shipping Alliance of the Salish Sea sponsored this event.

Participants discussed ways to collaborate on the shipping of coal and tar sands and signed the “International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands Projects.”

“It was very informative for me to understand where the debate is progressing and how we, as a First Nations, can be a part of that conversation,” said Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation.

“All of these vessels whether they are carrying coal or tar sands will collectively pass through the waters surrounding San Juan County,” said Stephanie Buffum, FRIENDS of the San Juans’ Executive Director. “As an Island community in the heart of the Salish Sea, keeping our water clean is critical for our environment, our food, and our economy.  This conference was an affirmation that we stand together for the values that all nations surrounding the Salish Sea hold dear.”

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