Tanker research ‘subsidy’ to Enbridge, Greens say

Elizabeth May accuses the Conservative government of "doing Enbridge's homework" on oil spill hazards off B.C.'s North Coast

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May

VICTORIA – Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May accused the Conservative government Wednesday of “doing Enbridge’s homework” with $120 million program to study ocean weather and behaviour of heavy oil spills in the ocean around Kitimat.

At a news conference in Victoria, May added her voice to that of Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver, who raised questions in the B.C. legislature in July about an ocean monitoring project in support of oil tanker exports as proposed by Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project.

May and Weaver released leaked documents they say show Ottawa spending $78 million this year and $42 million next year for marine weather monitoring and determining how diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands would behave in a spill.

May said federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty changed the federal budget documents this year to conceal changes to ministry and program spending, making it impossible for MPs to identify spending on programs such as the ocean monitoring on B.C.’s North Coast.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver issued a statement Wednesday, rejecting May’s accusation of secrecy. Oliver said he announced the program publicly in Vancouver in March.

“Work on tanker safety is critical to ensure we have we have world-class marine safety on Canada’s coastlines,” Oliver said. “While the Green Party and the NDP oppose resource development projects before the science is in, our government will not make decisions until an independent scientific review determines they are safe for Canadians and safe for the environment.”

Weaver said the investment amounts to a subsidy to Enbridge, which should do its own research on environmental effects of its pipeline and tanker port proposal. He cited a Fisheries and Oceans Canada document that concludes “behaviour models specific to [diluted bitumen] do not exist, and existing commercial models for conventional oil do not allow parameter specific modifications.”

Weaver called on the B.C. government to reiterate its opposition to Northern Gateway, which was detailed in the province’s final submission to the federal environmental assessment panel that concluded hearings this spring.

He said Premier Christy Clark has backed away from opposition to the project since the May provincial election, and has focused on improving relations with Alberta.

Clark told reporters in Vancouver Wednesday her position on heavy oil pipelines hasn’t changed, with five conditions for support including “world class” oil spill prevention and response capability.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amid pandemic, a new Castlegar princess is crowned

Hailey Gleboff was named Castlegar Princess.

UPDATE: Search effort underway for Slocan River drowning victim

The man was swimming near Winlaw on Wednesday.

No charges yet in death of Abbotsford officer Allan Young

Police and Crown say the investigation is still underway

Practical fashion: Local designers make supplies for Nelson dentists

Surgical caps and gowns have been in short supply for dentists during the pandemic

Kootenay doctor among 82 physicians, dentists calling on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Canada vows retaliatory measures as Trump restores tariff on Canadian aluminum

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Answers to 5 common questions facing families for the COVID-19 school year

COVID-19 protocols are likely to vary even more at the school board level, and even and school-to-school.

Smoker Farms bringing craft-style cannabis to Beaverdell

Husband-wife team growing small-scale cultivations of marijuana

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Kootenay town

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Most Read