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.

 

Just Posted

Alternative approval process to proceed for Centennial Field purchase

Fate of loan to purchase land for future park in hands of South Shuswap residents

Valdy gives volunteers a hand after Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival

Celebrated Canadian singer pitched in alongside starstruck clean-up crew

Robbery tactic used on Salmon Arm senior not uncommon

RCMP advice comes after credit cards stolen at Walmart parking lot

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival exceeds expectations

Artists, attendees and organizers praise effort behind successful event

Founder of Salmon Arm’s sister city exchange helps welcome Inashiki visitors

Twenty three Japanese guests visit city for a week, Salmon Arm to return in March

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Penticton man sentenced in non-fatal 2017 shooting

Elkena Michael Knauff sentenced to seven and a half months in jail

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Kamloops RCMP locate and arrest man who fled from police

The 22-year-old male was wanted in relation to a domestic violence investigation

North Shuswap Lions, Celista winery host benefit concert

Sept. 7 event at Celista Estate Winery to support North Shuswap Youth Program

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

COLUMN: Much to enjoy at Ryga Arts Festival

As I learn about George Ryga and his contributions, it is clear why this festival carries his name

Shuswap history in pictures

Shuswap history in pictures: mechanics class

Most Read