The Islands Trust Council (TC) voted at its June meeting to oppose in principle oil pipeline projects that will expand oil export by barge and tanker from Canada’s West Coast.
“Our communities are deeply concerned about the risk of oil spills that could irrevocably damage coastal environments, economies, and communities”, said Sheila Malcolmson, chair of Islands Trust Council. “Islanders have been vocal about their desire to see Trust Council take a stand against new oil pipelines leading to British Columbia’s coast. Islands Trust Council feels strongly that the proposed expansion in oil tanker and barge traffic poses an unacceptable risk to our quality of life and the incredible diversity of life in our waters”.
“Concern about tanker traffic and oil spills is not new for the Islands Trust Council”, continued Malcolmson. “As early as 1983, the Islands Trust Policy Statement included a policy to oppose increased oil tanker traffic in and adjacent to Trust waters and to support measures to reduce such traffic”.
In a related decision, Trust Council asked the Chair to write to the federal Minister of Natural Resources to support the phasing out of crude oil export from Canada’s West Coast by tanker and barge as part of a national energy strategy. The letter will build on a June 2011 TC request that the provincial and federal governments consider developing a low-carbon energy strategy that strengthens both Canada’s environment and economy.
During discussion about whether to oppose Kinder Morgan Canada’s Trans Mountain Pipeline twinning project and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, council members expressed concerns about peak oil and climate change. They felt Canada should focus on renewable energies and domestic energy security instead of shipping unrefined oil products while importing refined oils.
At its June 2012 meeting, the TC also directed its Executive Committee to represent the Trust legislated mandate to preserve and protect the Islands Trust Area during Kinder Morgan public engagement processes related to the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. If approved by the federal government, this pipeline expansion would increase oil and bitumen shipments from Burrard Inlet through the Salish Sea from 69 tankers in 2010 to 300 tankers by 2017. Council also authorised the Trust Council Chair to speak to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel to outline the Trust Council’s past shipping safety advocacy actions and outcomes.
During the meeting, San Juan County Council members from Washington State, attending as part of an annual trans-boundary liaison session between the two Salish Sea island governments, presented concerns about the cumulative risks posed by increasing vessel traffic. Current proposals that could lead to increases in vessel traffic in the region include the expansion of the Port of Metro Vancouver as part of the federal/provincial Asia-Pacific Gateway initiatives, the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal coal export facility at Cherry Point south of the BP refinery in Washington State, and the Kinder Morgan Canada pipeline twinning proposal which terminates at a dock in Burnaby, BC.
|The Flying Shingle, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada ~ editor@FlyingShingle.com||Web design: Innovative Illusions (Paul Rudyk) ~ webmaster@FlyingShingle.com|