Alex Atamanenko Urges Government to Uphold Ban on Oil Tanker Traffic

Southern Interior Member of Parliament feels moratorium needs to stay in place

  • May. 13, 2012 2:00 p.m.

Forty years ago, the Canadian government introduced a moratorium banning oil tankers from the north and central coast of British Columbia.

Now with hearings taking place into the Enbridge Northern Gateway project, Alex Atamanenko, Member of Parliament for BC Southern Interior, is urging the federal government to uphold that ban.

“As we approach the forty-year anniversary of the north coast tanker ban, the Conservative government is paving the way for unprecedented oil tanker traffic off the BC coast and gutting the environmental review processes,” said Atamanenko.

“I believe that the tanker moratorium is at risk due to the Conservative government’s promotion of the proposed Northern Gateway project,” he continued. “New Democrats are repeating our call to the government to uphold the ban and protect BC waters from the risks of a devastating spill.”

British Columbians have been clear on the subject of tanker traffic—the risk of allowing super tankers off the coast greatly outweighs any benefit to our communities. An oil spill in the fragile coastal waters of British Columbia would irreversibly damage the coastline. Over 130 First Nations bands and the Union of BC Municipalities have come out in opposition to the Northern Gateway project.

“In December 2010 the House of Commons passed an NDP motion directing the government to immediately introduce a legislated ban on tanker traffic,” said Atamanenko. “The government has taken no action. Worse, they chose to introduce massive regulatory changes in their 2012 budget that would weaken pipeline review processes and allow Ottawa to overrule any decision made by the National Energy Board,” he said.

British Columbians are proud of our stunning coastal waters. The coast directly and indirectly supports tens of thousands of jobs, brings visitors to our province and has deep spiritual significance for many peoples.

“Compromising this national treasure for short-term gain is short-sighted, irresponsible and reckless. I urge the Conservative government to bring forward a legislated ban on oil tankers to protect our coastline for future generations,” concluded Atamanenko.