Christy Clark’s Gateway conditions overturn west coast tanker moratorium, Dix tells reporters

Adrian Dix and Rob Goffinet
BC NDP leader Adrian Dix, right, speaks to Kitimat Councillor Rob Goffinet, left, after a breakfast meeting with District of Kitimat Council members on July 30, 2012. (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)

B.C. premier Christy Clark’s five conditions for the Northern Gateway Pipeline, in effect, overturn the west coast tanker moratorium, NDP and Opposition leader Adrian Dix told reporters in Kitimat, Monday, July 30, 2012.

Dix made the remarks after a breakfast meeting with members of District of Kitimat Council prior to embarking on a three day trip down Douglas Channel and the Inside Passage to see the proposed tanker route for himself.

The second of the five conditions for the pipeline, set out last Monday by Premier Clark calls for:

World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines and shipments

“It is an overturning of what’s been a government of BC policy for a long time, which is for a moratorium for super tankers on this part of the coast. That’s not a condition, that’s an overturning,” Dix said in a brief scrum with reporters after the breakfast and before heading to Kitamaat Village to start his boat trip.

“The frustration is that our premier’s position is that we should sell our coast got for money.  The premier has a report that says the projects bad for the province, it’s bad for the economy, it’s bad for the environment, that’s the concluson of her report and now she says ‘we’ll forget about that if you give us a few bucks.’

“I don’t think most people agree with that in British Columbia and so what we’ve tried to do is to take a more serious approach. In this case, the province gave up our jurisdiction. If people are concerned about spills and concerned about the environmental impact as the Liberal purport to be, they wouldn’t have handed over the right to decide on environmental assessment fully to the federal government, which, by the way supports, the project.”

The Clark had government had declined to take part in the Northern Gateway Joint Review process and so did not produce any evidence for the panel prior to the filing deadline.

Dix said the Liberal policy on the JRP was, “Like a student who misses a deadline for a term paper, they missed the deadline to produce evidence in the process and now after the debate has gone on, the Premier wants to get into the debate.”

He concluded by saying, “This isn’t about her, it isn’t about me, it’s about the economy and the environment of this province for decades to come. And that’s the approach we’ve  [the NDP Opposition] taken.”

The “informal” tanker “moratorium” has been in effect since 1972 and requires oil tankers transiting the west coast to remain fire out to sea and away from Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and the Queen Charlotte Sound.

In 2009, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government said there was no moratorium on tanker traffic on the coast of British Columbia and have maintained that position ever since.

In December 2010, the House of Commons passed a non-binding motion to ban bulk oil tanker traffic in the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound.

Dix said he was, “In Kitimat to meet with the community and of course in Kitimat village with the Haisla. Later today he will go  “for a trip down where the tankers will go if the Enbridge project succeeds, go down the Channel to Hartley Bay and then over the next couple of days to Bella Bella. Dix said hew as in the northwest to “take note of that in person. I always like to see things for myself, meet with people and hear what they have to say.”