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 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

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Victoria police are investigating after a person broke into and stole a vehicle from a Douglas Street car dealership on the morning of March 3. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Suspect sought after vehicle swiped from Victoria dealership

Suspect broke into Douglas Street dealership shortly before 5 a.m.

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read