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

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.

 

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

Just Posted

The Courtenay Legion has identified 16 homeless veterans living in the Comox Valley. File photo
Courtenay Legion unites with Qualicum to help homeless veterans

Last year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless count conducted in the Comox Valley identified… Continue reading

Proceeds from the sale of this 36x18” image of a grizzly bear in the water, by local photographer Viktor Davare, will go to the Salvation Army. Photo supplied.
Comox Valley Photographic Society showcased at next Pearl Ellis exhibit

Exhibit to double as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army

Shelter Point Distillery won several Canadian Whisky Awards this year, including a gold for best single malt. Facebook photo
Vancouver Island’s Shelter Point Distillery wins gold for single malt

Business won nine medals at recent Canadian Whisky Awards virtual ceremony

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Courtenay skateboarder selected to first-ever national team

A young man from Courtenay is among 12 athletes who have been… Continue reading

A WestJet flight on the runway leaving Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Aviation company seeks contracted employees to fill former WestJet roles at YQQ

Menzies Aviation from Edinburgh Park, Scotland, operates in 34 countries across the world

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria both have a MySafe machine to help reduce overdoses

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read