UPDATE: MP says plans for oil refinery 'ridiculous', MLA calls it 'pie in the sky' idea
Skeena - Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says he would "be very, very surprised" to see plans by David Black to construct an oil refinery in the Kitimat-Terrace area come to fruition.
"It's another chapter in a story that is increasingly becoming more and more ridiculous. This wasn't in Enbridge's plans, it's not in China's plans, it's not in the Prime Minister's plans so I don't know where it came from...He's making an announcement with no money, no local support and no support from First Nations so it is very hard to take seriously," he said.
Black said he will use his own money to finance the proposal through the B.C. environmental assessment, which he expects to cost several million dollars. After that, he said investors would be needed to complete it, assuming both the refinery and the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline receive approval.
"There is a reason nobody is backing this...For a newspaper baron to say how the oil industry should be running when nobody in the oil industry is doing this themselves is ridiculous," added Cullen.
Cullen also said an oil refinery would change the whole discussion around the Enbridge project, as the application for the environmental assessment is for the shipment of raw oil and bitumen.
"This just makes the project look ridiculous and makes it look desperate," he added.
Despite taking crude oil out of the marine environment on the north coast, North Coast MLA Gary Coons says he is also doubtful anything will come from the announcement.
"I think it is a pie in the sky concept. There's no partners, no money, no meaningful consultation with the Kitselas or the Haisla...You would think he would have learned from the Enbridge fiasco and had the Ts crossed and the Is dotted with at least the two key First Nations before announcing the project," said Coons.
"We haven't seen a refinery built in Canada since the 1980s, so at this time I don't think it is a feasible concept that Mr. Black is proposing."
For its part, Enbridge was trying to keep a low profile on the day and released a simple statement about the Northern Gateway pipeline project.
"Enbridge Northern Gateway remains committed to the regulatory process reviewing our application for the project. The Formal Hearings as part of the Joint Review Panel process are set to begin Sept. 4 where issues related to the project are to be reviewed in public and in detail," said company spokesperson Todd Nogier.