VICTORIA — After waiting for months, the B.C. New Democrats this week finally got around to endorsing federal legislation that would enshrine a moratorium on oil tankers on the northern coast.
“Our government has been very clear we are committed to protecting our environment, the economy and our coast from the devastating impact a heavy oil spill would have,” said the statement Tuesday from Environment Minister George Heyman.
“We oppose the expansion of the movement of heavy oil through our coastal waters and we have been consistent in this position.”
Consistent, but not in any rush to formally declare that position on Bill C-48.
Short title: The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act. Long title (which pretty much says it all): “An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast.”
A de facto moratorium was proclaimed by parliament almost 50 years ago after initial controversy over the shipment of oil out of Alaska.
Legislation “formalizing” the ban was introduced two years ago by the federal Liberals, following up their opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline.
The bill has passed the House of Commons and is before the Senate, where the committee on transport and communications has been holding hearings on possible changes.
Those hearings, which were in Terrace on Wednesday, provided the pretext for the statement from Heyman.
But there was no overlooking the juxtaposition with political events on the other side of the Rockies.
For Bill C-48 is the same piece of federal legislation that was denounced earlier this month by Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley.
“There is a glaring double standard when it comes to this law,” she told the Senate committee. “This is not a tanker ban, it is an Alberta ban.”
She grounded her concern in the way the bill was deliberately …read more
Source:: Vancouver Sun