Private Member’s bill takes aim at North Coast oil tanker ban

MP Bachrach vows to fight attempt of repealling the moratoreum

Taylor Bachrach speaks during the Special committee Covid-19 pandemic in June 2020. The Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP is firmly opposed to a Conservative Private Member’s Bill to repeal the North Coast moratorium on Oil Tankers. (File photo)

Taylor Bachrach speaks during the Special committee Covid-19 pandemic in June 2020. The Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP is firmly opposed to a Conservative Private Member’s Bill to repeal the North Coast moratorium on Oil Tankers. (File photo)

An Alberta Conservative MP has introduced a private member’s bill to repeal restrictions on oil shipments from the north coast of British Columbia.

Bill C-229, “An act to repeal certain restrictions on shipping,” was tabled Oct. 28 by Edmonton-Centre MP James Cumming, taking direct aim at Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, passed last year. Cumming acknowledged the bill has little chance of succeeding, but said it was important to send a message on behalf of the Alberta oil industry, a key driver of the Canadian economy.

”[The moratorium] is an overt attack on Alberta’s resource sector,” Cumming said. “Some have suggested that my bill, Bill C-229, is a waste of a private member’s bill, but frankly, given the absolute sorry state of this country, it is anything but a waste. This bill would right a wrong and fix an incredibly discriminatory piece of legislation.”

Over concerns of severe environmental damage to B.C.’s coastline, a voluntary exclusion zone for oil tanker traffic has been in place along the north coast since the 1970s. Last year the Liberal government formalized the measure with the passing of Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, which banned the transport of more than 12,500 metric tonnes of oil between the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border.

Bachrach said repealing the bill would place coastal livelihoods at risk, trample Indigenous right and threaten the integrity of the North Coast and Haida Gwaii, what he called one of Canada’s greatest natural treasures.

“Of course, on paper the oil industry continues to promise all manner of technology to respond to every situation and contingency, but … there is very little that can be done when the guy steering the boat falls asleep and runs it into the rocks,” Bachrach said, referring to a 190,000-litre diesel fuel spill near Bella Bella in 2016.

READ MORE: Senate to hold hearings in northwest B.C. on controversial oil tanker ban

“Indeed, it is striking that this bill comprises only a single clause, which repeals the oil tanker moratorium wholly and replaces it with, wait for it, absolutely nothing. It offers no alternative measures to protect the north coast. It does nothing to consider the views of the indigenous people and the communities in the area that is most affected.”

The moratorium ended plans for $7.9-billion Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, running diluted bitumen 1,170 kilometres from the Alberta oil sands to a proposed shipping terminal in Kitimat.

A proposal by Eagle Spirit Energy for an Indigenous-owned pipeline along the same route was also stalled.

In the House of Commons Cumming devoted a considerable portion of his time to the importance of environmental protections, saying it’s a mistake to cripple energy companies investing heavily in green technology.

“Private sector innovation is what is going to lead us into the future and provide us with the technology we need to shift to global sustainability,” Cumming said.

“[But] by 2019, 100,000 jobs in this [energy] sector had already been lost because of Liberal policies. Capital investment in Canada’s oil and natural gas sector has dropped by over half since 2014. I cannot imagine what these statistics would mean in other industries, and what the reaction of the government would be.”

In October last year Calgary-based Melius Energy got around oil-tanker restrictions by using modified shipping containers to move bitumen by rail from Edmonton to the Port of Prince Rupert. The oil had been processed into a semi-solid form, to the consistency of butter, so it wouldn’t leak or mix with the natural environment if spilled.

The company said the demonstration was proof-of-concept that bitumen could be moved safely and efficiently through B.C., in adherence to Canada’s regulatory framework.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert final Canadian stop in first successful shipment of semi-solid bitumen, what are the impacts?

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File)
Interior News seeks messages for isolated Bulkley Valley seniors

Please join us in ensuring no one is forgotten this holiday season

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where one employee is still currently isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was first declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
54 positive COVID-19 cases associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

There’s been a two-person increase in positive cases since Tuesday (Dec. 1)

K-J Millar/The Northern View
8 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the Northern Health Authority

Since Nov. 27, there have been 191 new cases reported in NHA

RCMP will be out in force for the next four weeks looking for drunk and drug-impaired drivers. (Black Press file photo)
Smithers RCMP counter attack campaign starts

Additional officers and roadblocks will be on the streets throughout the holidays

A COVID-19 exposure has been recorded at Centennial Christian School in Terrace. The exposure occurred between Nov. 23 and Nov. 26, 2020. (Centennial Christian School Facebook photo)
COVID-19 exposure recorded at Centennial Christian School in Terrace

It’s the first known school exposure in Terrace

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

Most Read