Insist on clean water

Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2009

I was jogging the morning of Feb. 15 and witnessed a most spectacular sight along Egan Drive by DIPAC; a huge pod of killer whales. I estimated 25 or more cruising up Gastineau Channel towards the flats. They wheeled around on cue and headed back out the channel. I'm a lifelong commercial fisherman and I can only recall a couple of orca encounters that rivaled this one.

The timing, I thought, was significant because before leaving the house, I had just read an article in the Empire about a bill sponsored by a group of legislators including Reps. John Harris, Mike Kelly, Kyle Johansen, Richard Foster, Mike Chenault, John Coghill and Craig Johnson. The bill, if passed, would gut the ballot initiative passed by the people of Alaska that sets more stringent standards for wastewater discharges by the cruise lines.

It seems we are always behind the curve when it comes to planning ahead for positive change to our planet. Whether the auto industry, big oil, tobacco, peanut butter manufacturers or the cruise lines industries, profit margins seem to come first. Innovative technologies come from the need to increase those margins or from crisis. Corporations will not, on their own, make this a safer planet. If they are pressured, new technologies will be developed even if it means cutting into profit margins (Exxon, $40 billion in profits, 2008).

We need to stick to our guns and insist on clean water. Our safe environment and our good health is all too often just something that gets in the way, a hindrance and nuisance to corporate greed. I have to say again, that was quite an orca show!

Roy Smith


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