VICTORIA – Despite a confusing series of messages including the premier’s sudden condemnation of Enbridge’s handling of the 2010 Kalamazoo oil spill, the B.C. Liberal government still refuses to take a stance on the future of the Northern Gateway Pipeline, say the New Democrats.
“The premier has been changing her opinion on the Enbridge pipeline project depending on the daily news headlines, but has yet to take a real thought-out position that’s in the best interest of B.C.’s long-term economic and environmental well-being,” said New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming.
“The B.C. Liberals have had two years to look at what happened in the devastating Kalamazoo spill. Two years to look at the environmental and economic risks that fall to British Columbians with this pipeline and the increased tanker traffic on our coast. They’ve failed to participate fully in the review process and they’ve been absent without leave when it comes to taking a stand for British Columbia.”
In May, the premier admitted that B.C. is taking "100 per cent of the risks” yet “gets about the same benefit as Nova Scotia."
Then on Tuesday, the premier said that there were “potentially big benefits” to the pipeline coming through B.C. and that investors want to “know that they're going to have a chance… to go through the processes that are there before politicians prejudge the outcome.”
On Wednesday, the premier called Enbridge’s handling of the 2010 Michigan spill “disgraceful” and expressed safety concerns over the proposed pipeline in B.C. She went so far as to say, "if they think they're going to operate like that in British Columbia, forget it."
Despite her condemnation, later that day, the premier said it was still early days yet to say what the province’s final answer will be on Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.
“This is a government that fails to take action for the best interests of B.C. They did nothing when the federal environment commissioner condemned B.C.’s complete lack of an oil spill preparedness plan in 2010. And they failed to stand against the federal government when B.C.’s Oil Spill Response Centre was shut down and replaced with a 1-800 number in Quebec,” said Fleming.
Fleming also noted that despite having two years to prepare, the B.C. Liberals have missed the deadline to submit evidence in the Joint Review Panel process, severely limiting B.C.’s participation in deciding the outcome of the project.
“Despite compelling evidence on the risks this pipeline and tanker traffic could bring to B.C., the Liberals are dancing around the real issue and refuse to say where they stand.”
Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats are taking a stand against the Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline and believe this high-risk, low-return approach simply isn’t in B.C.’s interests.