PRINCE RUPERT – As the Enbridge hearings resume in Prince Rupert today, New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming says he's more convinced than ever that potential threats to our coast posed by the Enbridge pipeline are too great for British Columbia.
“The Prince Rupert hearings are a critical phase of this process where the risks of a major bitumen oil spill into the marine environment of B.C.'s North Coast will come under closer examination,” said Fleming.
“North Coast residents understand why, for 40 years, Canada and B.C. have had in place a tanker exclusion zone on our North Coast. Sadly, their governments today do not.”
Fleming, who is attending the Prince Rupert hearings, said that while the B.C. government is taking part in the cross-examination of Enbridge representatives today on spill response, it’s too little too late.
“While the B.C. Liberals have acknowledged some key clean-up liability problems with B.C.'s spill response regime, there are also major capacity problems that can be traced directly back to B.C. Liberal cuts to the Ministry of Environment,” said Fleming.
Currently, the Northwest region of this province has only one provincial employee responsible for spill response.
“Since the B.C. Liberals handed over decision-making power to Ottawa in the 2010 Equivalency Agreement, it’s been clear that the Enbridge pipeline project has been a federal process without a government to represent B.C.’s interests,” said Fleming.
Fleming noted that while New Democrats have proposed practical steps to protect our province, including exercising the right to opt out of the federal government’s review process and setting up a rigorous made-in-B.C. environmental assessment, the Liberals have done the bare minimum to stand up for B.C.’s interests.
“Of the Liberals’ so-called ‘five conditions’ to be met for the pipeline to go ahead, four are already requirements that exist in law,” said Fleming. “And the fifth condition proves the Liberals are willing to sell out British Columbians for the right price.”
“This is a government that has failed to listen to the people of B.C. who say that the Enbridge pipeline risks are simply too great, and it’s time for a change.”
Adrian Dix and B.C.'s New Democrats are offering change for the better, one practical step at a time.