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

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.

 

Just Posted

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Esquimalt arson trial hears of feud with tenant before the fire

Wei Li charged with intentionally setting fire to a duplex he owned on Oct. 3, 2017

Driver charged in Central Saanich pedestrian’s death appears in court

Victim Kim Ward, 51, died on scene at the August 2018 crash

Nuisance tree will remain on perimeter of Fireman’s Park

Council re-affirm pledge to protecting healthy tree canopy

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Most Read