Minister of Transport Marc Garneau to draft legislation on crude oil tanker moratorium.

Minister Garneau details tanker ban policy

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau gave an exclusive interview with the Northern View on what the legislation will look like

The North Coast will have a moratorium on tankers carrying crude oil and Minister of Transport Marc Garneau gave an exclusive interview with the Northern View on what the legislation will look like.

“What we are going to be doing is banning crude oil and certain, what we call, persistent oils. These are oils that don’t break up very easily and become environmental contaminants for an extended period of time,” Garneau said over the phone from Vancouver on Nov. 30.

The previous day, the federal government announced the ban on supertankers carrying bitumen in the North Coast when it rejected Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline in Kitimat and approved the Trans Mountain Pipeline in Burnaby.  

The tanker ban announcement has been in the works since the prime minister gave Garneau the mandate when he became cabinet minister in Nov. 2015.

In January, the minister visited Prince Rupert to begin consultations. He said he’s spoken with Coastal First Nations, Metlakatla, Haida, Lax Kw’alaams, Haisla, Nisga’a, as well stakeholders in the shipping industry and environmental groups.

“There was not a unanimous consensus. There are a range of opinions but we feel what we are doing represents the majority,” Garneau said adding that it is supported by the majority of Coastal First Nations.

Following the announcement the Coastal First Nations board chair Patrick Kelly called the rejection of Enbridge’s pipeline and the moratorium a double victory.

“At first glance, today’s announcement looks like it should meet our objectives but we will need to take a closer look to better understand what’s included in the federal government’s list of banned substances,” Kelly said.

RELATED: MINISTER OF TRANSPORT HOLDS CONSULTATIONS IN PRINCE RUPERT ON THE MORATORIUM ON CRUDE-OIL TANKERS

The moratorium will go from the boundary between Alaska and B.C., down the North Coast, around Haida Gwaii to the tip of Vancouver Island. This border will include Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, Queen Charlotte Sound and much of the Great Bear Rainforest.

This boundary avoids implications with the U.S. that ships oil from the Alaska to the lower 48 states.

Garneau said the government is taking a land-based approach, meaning that crude oil tankers will not have the legal authority to come into port or to a marine facility within the boundary line. Violators could see a fine up to $5-million.

The government has listed examples of oil products that will be included in the moratorium: synthetic crude oil, pitch, slack wax, partially upgraded bitumen and bunker C fuel oil. Products excluded are propane, liquefied natural gas, jet fuel, gasoline and naphtha.

“We’re going to have the final list when the legislation comes out in the next few months,” Garneau said.

In response to the announcement, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said, “The devil is always in the detail in these things.”

One of those details is hidden under the “enforcement and non-compliance” section of the government’s backgrounder on the tanker ban. 

Products included in the moratorium could be amended after a regulatory review by the government. The review would examine the behaviour of the product when spilled and the state of clean up technology, which means that the moratorium would be flexible and could be changed by the government at any time.

Cullen has a history of trying to bring a tanker ban to the North Coast dating back to 2010 when he put forward a motion in the House of Commons. The motion passed 143-138 but it was non-binding.

Then in 2014, he proposed a private member’s bill to prohibit the transportation of oil on the North Coast without the inclusion of any potential amendments. However, Bill C-628 was defeated in April 2015.

One similarity between Cullen’s bill and what the federal government is planning to legislate is that there is an exception to the law. Small oil traffic will be allowed to continue to coastal communities, such as Bella Bella and Haida Gwaii, to re-supply heating oil and fuels.

Garneau added that the government is also undertaking a $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan to increase marine safety and the ability to respond to a spill. This announcement came at the heels of a diesel spill near Bella Bella in late October.

“A very key element of that is that the Coastal First Nations will be involved as part of that process so that we can take advantage of the skills and the experience and the local knowledge that they can bring to responding and monitoring our coast to ensure that they are as safe as possible,” Garneau said.

 

Just Posted

PRMS Grade 8 girls welcome Coast Tsimshian Academy for first home volleyball game

Sportsmanship was on display in Prince Rupert over the weekend

Return of the Rampage, and more Prince Rupert weekend sports briefs

Snooker season has started at the Legion, with five matches already in the books

Climate, reconciliation and industry top all candidates agenda in Terrace

Debate was the candidate’s last opportunity to address voters in a public forum

City of Prince Rupert foots the bill for armed RCMP officers at Alaska ferry terminal, two trips scheduled

Two temporary voyages between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan added to AMHS schedule in Oct. and Nov.

WATCH: Minor hockey, major fun

Rupert Rampage drop by to teach some skills at Timbits hockey

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read