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 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.

 

Just Posted

Rossland’s Seven Summits school gets grant to grow global presence

Centre for Learning hopes to triple the number of international students it has

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

Rossland skiier places third at U19 Canadian Ski Cross

Rossland’s Sage Stefani finished out a successful season.

Warfield elementary school celebrating 70 years

Webster Elementary School officially opened April 23, 1949; open house and events planned next week

Patients thank Kootenay Boundary doctor

Dr. Scheepers’ patients thanked him for the gift of restoring their sight

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read