Kitimat ocean program set for oil tankers

Green MLA says ocean monitoring plan shows Ottawa intent on oil exports to Asia 'come hell or high water'

A crude oil tanker is escorted by tugboats out of Second Narrows. Pipeline proposals are being considered to increase heavy oil exports from Vancouver and Kitimat.

A little-noticed federal ocean monitoring program around Kitimat is the clearest signal yet that the federal government is preparing the region for crude oil tanker traffic, Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver says.

Weaver was catching up on his scientific reading after the B.C. election when he stumbled on a line – “almost a throwaway” – in the April issue of Canadian Ocean Science Newsletter.

“A major initiative in planning is the complementary measures project for the area surrounding Kitimat British Columbia to support planned oil traffic,” it says.

Government scientists who developed the system in the Gulf of St. Lawrence say it is to help “search and rescue, oil spill response and to ensure safe and navigable waterways.”

Weaver said the project goes well beyond research, and represents a major ongoing budget commitment by Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to forecast ocean conditions for oil tanker traffic.

“My conclusion is, come hell or high water, the intention of the feds right now is to ship bitumen to Asia through Kitimat,” Weaver said in an interview. “Whether it be through rail or through pipeline, it’s going to happen, and I don’t think that British Columbians are getting the whole picture here.”

Environment Canada spokesman Mark Johnson issued a statement confirming the program was funded in the 2012 federal budget, under the government’s “responsible resource development” initiative.

Its purpose is to “to improve the scientific understanding of diluted bitumen products and to improve operational capabilities to provide timely scientific assessment in the event of an oil spill.

“The Government of Canada is increasing research into non-conventional petroleum products to fortify Canada’s marine prevention, preparedness and response capabilities.

“In terms of ocean forecasting, Environment Canada Meteorological Service of Canada will bring specific contributions to this overall goal in the provision of high-resolution surface winds forecasts along the complex waterways from Kitimat to Hecate Strait area, as winds play an important role as input to oil spill modelling assessment.”

A federal assessment panel is preparing recommendations for the federal cabinet on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, which would deliver diluted bitumen from Alberta to the Kitimat port.

Weaver said Ottawa’s apparent rush to export heavy crude increases the pollution risk on land and ocean, and also works against development of a petrochemical industry in Canada.

 

Just Posted

South Slocan woman killed in Friday crash

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries School’s got talent

Talent show to be held Feb. 21 at Brilliant Cultural Centre

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Province announces $23 million for upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board has yet to review the provincial proposal

Selkirk College Saints score pair of crucial wins

Stellar goaltending and timely goals lead to victory over the Vancouver Island University Mariners.

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

East Kootenay mine deaths prompt safety initiatives

Teck produces educational video, introduces new procedures after contractor drowns at Fording River

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Most Read