VIDEO: May says Exxon Valdez spill calls for legislation against oil tankers

Green Party leader makes announcement in Sidney on anniversary of Exxon Valdez oil spill

Elizabeth May



Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party, hoped to spark interest in the anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill with a picturesque press conference Friday morning.

On March 24, 23 years ago, the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, Calif., struck the Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound and spilled 260,000 to 750,000 barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Alaska.

“The life of that ecosystem has not yet recovered,” May said Friday at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney. “There is still damage it is being monitored by scientists that the bird life has not returned, that the life of the ocean waters have not been restored to the condition which they were 23 years ago today, on the eve of the Exxon Valdez spill.”

May focused on the spill as a key symbol of why the supertanker moratorium on the B.C. coast must be maintained and strengthened.

The Raincoast Conservation Foundation were on hand for the event and agree that the risk is too high to have tanker traffic in the Salish Sea.

“The Salish Sea is already suffering intense pressures from growth. Chronic oiling and spills will only intensify the declining health of this ecologically fragile region. Further, the tanker route overlays critical habitat for our endangered souther resident killer whales. The Exxon Valdez oil spill fatally impacted two populations of Alaskan killer whales,” said Misty MacDuffee, a Raincoast biologist.

Water and oil do not mix, May said, and the moratorium needs to be legislated.

“Even before the Exxon Valdez oil spill the people of British Columbia, the people of Canada took the step of having an oil tanker ban put in place in 1972 and it’s protected the British Columbia coastline ever since that time,” she said. “So on this sombre occasion, the 23rd anniversary of the disastrous spill of the Exxon Valdez, we can stand in solidarity with all of those pioneers who have protected our coastline since 1972.

“We need to legislate it. … We need to make our voices heard.”

 

Traffic troubles

The Gulf Islands route is also risky from a vessel traffic perspective, according to Brian Falconer, Raincoast marine operations co-ordinator.

“More than 400,000 vessel movements occur annually on the coast and accidents such as collisions, groundings and fires are common,” Falconer said. “Serious inadequacies in response capabilities have been identified by federal and provincial agencies that would hinder rescue and containment operations.”

Just Posted

Greater Victoria teachers experienced more than 30 incidents of violence from students in one month

Shuttered behavioural programs, lack of resources creates challenges for local schools

Canadian alcohol policy gets failing grade from UVic researchers

Canadian provinces and territories collectively achieved less than half of their potential to reduce alcohol related harm

Esquimalt High robotics team heads to international competition

The Esquimalt Atom Smashers will participate in the FIRST Robotics Canada competition

Island playoffs underway at Oak Bay High

Home team vies for fifth straight Island title

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read