Outrage over English Bay oil spill

Editor: British Columbians were on the streets around the province securing signatures.


As thousands marched in Quebec City demanding climate action from Canada’s premiers, concerned British Columbians pressed the case that B.C. must withdraw from the flawed federal review process for the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tankers.

British Columbians were on the streets around the province securing signatures calling for British Columbia to take back decision-making control over the Kinder Morgan proposal from Ottawa.

“The spill of toxic bunker oil in English Bay this week is a reminder that accidents happen and clean-up is impossible, even when the spill occurs in calm waters within view of BC’s largest concentration of first responders,”said Sierra Club BC campaign director Caitlyn Vernon. “There is nothing ‘world-class’ about the slow and ineffective response that has put the health and safety of people and wildlife  at risk, raising questions about what would happen in the case of a much larger spill from a Kinder Morgan oil tanker.”

“And any oil that doesn’t spill on coastal beaches or in salmon-bearing rivers will end up spilling into the atmosphere once it is burned, contributing to climate disruption.”

Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders are meeting in Quebec City on April 14 to discuss climate issues. Across Canada, events were held today to pressure provincial leaders to act on climate, centering on a march in Quebec City.

“British Columbians no longer trust Ottawa when it comes to crude oil pipelines and tankers,” said Dogwood Initiative’s Kai Nagata. “Luckily our province has the power to conduct a fair, independent review of the Kinder Morgan project. All it takes is the political will. Premier Clark could give the National Energy Board notice tomorrow and withdraw from this embarrassing process.”

Act on climate events were held in Vancouver, Victoria, North Vancouver, Fort Langley, Nanaimo, Courtenay, Vernon, Powell River and on Salt Spring Island. Events included volunteers from Sierra Club BC, Dogwood Initiative, ForestEthics Advocacy, Wilderness Committee, Georgia Strait Alliance and the PIPE UP Network.

“The National Energy Board review of the Kinder Morgan pipeline refuses to hear evidence on climate change, has made public participation all but impossible and has failed to make Kinder Morgan answer important questions on issues such as their emergency response plan,” said ForestEthics Advocacy’s Sven Biggs.

“This week’s oil spill in English Bay brings the real risks of this project into focus and shows that the federal government’s promise of world class spill response is hollow. Now more than ever Premier Clark needs to assert B.C.’s power to make its own decision on this pipeline.”

Tim Pearson,

Sierra Club, B.C.