Victoria B.C. — In light of the provincial government's final submission to the Trans Mountain National Energy Board (NEB) hearings that described B.C.'s spill response capacities as insufficient, Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay–Gordon Head and Leader of the B.C. Green Party, is calling on the provincial and federal governments to establish a moratorium on the transport of diluted bitumen (dilbit) along our coast.
While encouraged to see the provincial government finally agreeing our coastline is unprepared to deal with a major dilbit spill, he notes that it is inconsistent with their continued approval of the bitumen-filled tankers that travel through our marine environment - currently at the average rate of one per week.
"The B.C. government is admitting one thing and allowing another," says Andrew Weaver. "In 2013 I added a 6th condition—a complete ban on the shipment of dilbit along our coast—to the province's five approval criteria. With a dangerously low ability to deal with spills and limited scientific understanding of how dilbit will interact with BC's waters, that 6th condition is overdue and essential."
Trans Mountain based their entire analysis of the fate and behaviour of (dilbit) in the marine environment on the faulty assumption that dilbit floats. Published evidence, together with a Federal government study, and assessment reports from both the Royal Society of Canada's Expert Panel on The Behaviour and Environmental Impacts of Crude Oil Released into Aqueous Environments as well as the US National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Effects of Diluted Bitumen on the Environment, all of which Andrew submitted as evidence to the NEB, clearly conclude otherwise.
In its final submission to the NEB hearings the provincial government noted that Trans Mountain had not provided adequate information on spill prevention and response, therefore not meeting a key component of the provincial five conditions required for approval of heavy oil pipelines. However the government said they will continue to evaluate the project.
"The B.C. Government submission emphasizes what I and other intervenors have been saying throughout the hearing process. There simply is not an adequate response in place now, nor likely in the future, to deal with a diluted bitumen spill," says Andrew Weaver. "I am calling on the Federal Government to halt all current shipments of dilbit. The risk is simply too high."
Andrew Weaver's final argument in the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Hearing Process, submitted Friday January 8th (http://www.andrewweavermla.ca/2016/01/08/media-statement-final-arguments-trans-mountain-pipeline-hearings-submitted-national-energy-board/), cited "substantive deficiencies" in Trans Mountain's application and detailed their inability to provide adequate responses to intervenor's questions. Because of these concerns, and the NEB's failure to include cumulative upstream and downstream effects on climate, Andrew Weaver has urged the NEB to reject their application.
Mat Wright, Press Secretary
Office of Andrew Weaver
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