Spill response report shows it’s time for B.C. Liberals to take a real stand against Enbridge pipeline

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VICTORIA — A marine spill response report released by the B.C. government Thursday shows it is time for the B.C. Liberals to finally take a real stand against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, say New Democrats.

“The report shows B.C. doesn’t even have spill response capacity to effectively handle existing threats to our marine environment, let alone shipments of diluted bitumen from the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline,” said New Democrat environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert. “It’s long past time for Premier Clark and the B.C. Liberal government to take a stand against this project.”

The West Coast Spill Response Study shows that even a relatively small spill on the north coast could result in just three per cent recovery of diluted bitumen. The report makes it clear that recovery could be even less given how little is known about how much diluted bitumen will sink on the open water and whether what’s left can be effectively picked up with conventional oil skimmers.

“The B.C. Liberal government needs to listen to the people of British Columbia – especially northwest British Columbians, and stop dithering on the Enbridge project,” said Chandra Herbert. “Continuing this endless charade of negotiation is a distraction that will only erode support for more suitable development in the region.

“The Liberal government can’t have it both ways – telling the public that they said no, while continuing to act as though the answer is yes by including oil pipelines and infrastructure in their Kitimat airshed study, and allowing the company to clear land along the proposed pipeline route,” said Chandra Herbert.

Chandra Herbert also noted that the B.C. Liberals are trying to distract from their own woefully inadequate land-based spill response capacity by focusing on the federal government’s responsibilities on marine-based spill response.

“While the province points fingers at the federal government, they have put oil company executives in charge of our land-based spill review,” said Chandra Herbert. “This from a government that refuses to show the public their record on environmental compliance and enforcement activities – a government that has been gutting the ministry of the environment and ignoring the advice of their own scientists on a regular basis.

“At this point, if Premier Clark and the B.C. Liberal government don’t say, once and for all, that they oppose the Enbridge pipeline project, we know they are just wasting tax dollars in a bid to provide a smokescreen for themselves when they finally find a way to ‘get to yes.’”