Kitimat ocean program set for oil tankers

Green MLA says ocean monitoring plan shows Ottawa intent on oil exports to Asia 'come hell or high water'

A crude oil tanker is escorted by tugboats out of Second Narrows. Pipeline proposals are being considered to increase heavy oil exports from Vancouver and Kitimat.

A little-noticed federal ocean monitoring program around Kitimat is the clearest signal yet that the federal government is preparing the region for crude oil tanker traffic, Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver says.

Weaver was catching up on his scientific reading after the B.C. election when he stumbled on a line – “almost a throwaway” – in the April issue of Canadian Ocean Science Newsletter.

“A major initiative in planning is the complementary measures project for the area surrounding Kitimat British Columbia to support planned oil traffic,” it says.

Government scientists who developed the system in the Gulf of St. Lawrence say it is to help “search and rescue, oil spill response and to ensure safe and navigable waterways.”

Weaver said the project goes well beyond research, and represents a major ongoing budget commitment by Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to forecast ocean conditions for oil tanker traffic.

“My conclusion is, come hell or high water, the intention of the feds right now is to ship bitumen to Asia through Kitimat,” Weaver said in an interview. “Whether it be through rail or through pipeline, it’s going to happen, and I don’t think that British Columbians are getting the whole picture here.”

Environment Canada spokesman Mark Johnson issued a statement confirming the program was funded in the 2012 federal budget, under the government’s “responsible resource development” initiative.

Its purpose is to “to improve the scientific understanding of diluted bitumen products and to improve operational capabilities to provide timely scientific assessment in the event of an oil spill.

“The Government of Canada is increasing research into non-conventional petroleum products to fortify Canada’s marine prevention, preparedness and response capabilities.

“In terms of ocean forecasting, Environment Canada Meteorological Service of Canada will bring specific contributions to this overall goal in the provision of high-resolution surface winds forecasts along the complex waterways from Kitimat to Hecate Strait area, as winds play an important role as input to oil spill modelling assessment.”

A federal assessment panel is preparing recommendations for the federal cabinet on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, which would deliver diluted bitumen from Alberta to the Kitimat port.

Weaver said Ottawa’s apparent rush to export heavy crude increases the pollution risk on land and ocean, and also works against development of a petrochemical industry in Canada.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Excess activity damaging Saanich golf course – despite being closed

Cedar Hill Golf Course manager reminds people of the 170 parks available in Saanich

UVic Vikes new basketball coach on the fast track

At 26, Shalie Dheensaw assumed head coaching role

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

‘Small python’ found in vacant Cook Street apartment

Snake taken to CRD Animal Shelter to be claimed

Greater Victoria liquor stores see spike in sales amidst COVID-19

Customers are buying go-to products in larger quantities

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Most Read