To the Editor,
With the passage of Bill C- 38 in the House of Commons, the process of reviewing pipeline projects will be streamlined as a result of significant changes in the environmental review process.
The omnibus budget bill also overhauls environmental protection and fisheries laws. These changes are good news for Enbridge and their proposed project to carry diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to the B.C. coastline for shipment to Asia.
This legislation also provides the potential of swifter passage for the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and the dredging of the Second Narrows.
For the residents of the Great Bear Rainforest and most of Vancouver Island, however, these developments spell uncertainty and probable disaster as a result of oil-transporting supertankers plying their course through difficult to navigate coastal waters.
To add insult to injury, the federal government has moved the emergency oil spill response centre from Vancouver to Quebec and is shutting down the Kitsilano coast guard station.
The conversation ensuing after the June 3 screening of the film Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez in Nanaimo, left little doubt as to how apprehensive and alarmed viewers were about the inevitability of an oil spill in B.C. waters if the two pipeline projects proceed.
Caitlyn Vernon of Sierra Club B.C. spoke emotionally about the dangers an oil spill would present to the Great Bear Rainforest.
Since the federal government has demonstrated with Bill C-38 that it does not have the best interests of B.C. in mind, local governments must be called upon to voice their opposition to dangerous cutbacks and oil projects that will not benefit B.C.’s economy and only spell catastrophe for the coast and British Columbians.