Transport of oil on the St. Lawrence River to be a major topic
Saturday, February 7th, Save The River will once again provide area residents and public officials the opportunity to hear from scientists, experts, activists and educators about issues of importance to the health of the St. Lawrence River. The 26th Annual Winter Environmental Conference is open to the public and anyone interested in the future of the River is encouraged to attend.
Oil shipments on the St. Lawrence River are already an unpleasant reality. However, dramatically increased extraction of heavy oil and bitumen from the Alberta tar sands has lead to increased pressure to transport these cargoes on and near the River. These volatile cargoes pose new and alarming threats to the River due to their unique chemical characteristics that make them difficult to handle and recover if spilled.
A panel of experts will examine the implications of moving these new, toxic cargoes on and near the St. Lawrence River. The panel will include Kushan Dave, Cornell University, co-author of the recently published report “A New Era of Crude Oil Transport”, Anthony Mangoni, District Response Advisory Team Supervisor, Ninth Coast Guard District, Gary McCullough of the NYS DEC, and Emma Lui from the Council of Canadians. There will also be a visual presentation about the source of this potential new cargo by Alex MacLean.
Additional speakers will provide updates on issues directly affecting the health of the St. Lawrence River and in which the River community has taken an active role. Dereth Glance, Commissioner to the U.S. Section of the International Joint Commission, will speak about the status of Plan 2014 and other water quality initiatives being undertaken by the IJC. Jennifer Nalbone, New York State Attorney General’s Office, will provide an update on microbeads, the tiny plastic particles contained in personal care products, that have been found in alarming concentrations in the River, and the effort to ban them in New York. Matt Windle, Research Scientist at the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences, will speak about his research on the American Eel a once thriving and still iconic and culturally significant, but threatened St. Lawrence River inhabitant.
Rounding out the day will be presentations about Save The River’s educational programs, In the Schools and Riverkeeper, from educators and partners who will share their experiences and how they are implementing the programs in their classroom. Attendees will hear about programs aboard the Tall Ship Fair Jeanne, the Canadian sail training ship operated by the Ottawa-based youth charity, Bytown Brigantine Inc. from the captain and president and from Mary Bowman, Thousand Island Middle School teacher, who sailed on the NOAA research ship Lake Guardian.
Registration for the Winter Environmental Conference is $45 and includes coffee, lunch and a cocktail reception with light hor d’oevres. Anyone interested in attending can RSVP by calling (315) 686-2010 or by downloading and submitting the registration form.