West Coast tanker ban moves one step closer to reality
The Federal Liberals have tabled a motion to ban tanker traffic on BC's northern coast.
The ban would apply from the BC/Alaska border down to about Port Hardy. Kitimat would be included in the exclusion zone. The moratorium is specifically for crude oil (including bitumen, upgraded bitumen and bunker fuels) but not refined products, propane or LNG.
The government says light oil products pose no risk to the environment since they are more volatile and "tend to dissipate more rapidly."
Vessels carrying less than 12,500 tonnes of crude will also be exempted in order to "allow local communities and industries to continue to receive" critical supplies, including heating oil and marine fuel.
There were a number of fuel spills reported along the northern coast last year, primarily from fuel barges and tugboats that travel inland. Barges and tugboats are exempted from the ban. Tankers travelling to and from Alaska and Washington State must stay west of the existing Voluntary Tanker Exclusion Zone.
The moratorium would be another "nail in the coffin" for the Northern Gateway Pipeline and pour cold water on plans to build oil refineries in Kitimat.
The federal government says it has "consulted extensively" with Indigenous groups and industry stakeholders in formalizing the moratorium. Prime Minister Trudeau made the BC tanker ban a key promise during the last federal election.
Aboriginal Equity Partners (AEP), made up of 31 First Nations groups, have expressed disappointment over Trudeau's opposition to pipeline developments on the northern half of BC. AEP own a 33% stake in the Northern Gateway Project and had negotiated a $2 billion profit sharing plan with Enbridge.
The northern BC tanker moratorium is part of the Liberal's $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan.
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