Eagle Spirit Energy Holding Ltd. feels oil shipping in British Columbia is imminent, so citizens should support a project that vows to do it safely.
The Haida Nation recently publicized its opposition to Eagle Spirit Energy’s proposed oil project, which would have oil refined in either northeastern B.C. or Alberta and moved via pipeline to one of three shipping points being considered.
President and chairman Calvin Helin said the company respects the Haida Nation’s right to come to any decision, but said oil is already being shipped off of B.C.’s coast.
“Coming from Alaska, there are 300 tankers transiting right by Haida Gwaii every year, within about 70 miles of the island. They’re carrying the heavier forms of crude … Kinder Morgan is also shipping bitumen right out of Vancouver harbour. If it’s going to Asia it goes right by Haida Gwaii, as well,” Helin said.
Helin said by accepting the fact that oil will be shipped from B.C.’s coast, First Nations can have a say about how it is done and can prevent bitumen from being shipped.
“One of the reasons we are involved in looking for an alternative is because oil is so important to the Canadian economy. It’s going to be shipped at some point. To bury our head in the sand and pretend it’s not going to happen is to exclude yourself from shaping what is going to happen,” he said.
“It’s incumbent upon us to have a sensible and realistic attitude about it and also to ensure that citizens of the northwest coast and, particularly, First Nations are fairly compensated for the risk that is ultimately going to be there.”