Prince Rupert City Council Votes Unanimously to Oppose Enbridge Pipeline
Below is our presentation:
Ian Dobson, Pat Murray and Gerald Stewart presented. Ian acknowledged and recognized that we are on Tsimshian territory. He asked council to pass a motion opposing Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal. He passed out a copy of the SQCRD motion they might want to use as a guideline.
Pat Murray then read that motion and continued on with our presentation:
The Skeena Queen Charlotte Regional District resolution reads as follows:
WHEREAS the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project will result in increased crude oil tanker traffic and risk of accidental oil spills in northern coastal waters in British Columbia;
AND WHEREAS a crude oil spill will have devastating and long lasting effects on the Pacific North Coast area that is recognized for its unique and diverse ocean ecosystems, which provide critical marine habitat and marine resources that sustain the social, cultural, environmental and economic health of coastal communities, including First Nations communities:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the SQCRD be opposed to any expansion of bulk crude oil tanker traffic as well as bitumen export in Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound in British Columbia;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the SQCRD petition the federal government to establish a legislated ban on bulk crude oil tanker traffic and bitumen export through Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound in British Columbia.
Pat Murray continues:
We leave the wording of your resolution up to council. The SQRD wording focused only on the ocean, knowing that without tankers there can be no pipeline. We agree with this but we also stand with and commend the communities upcountry that are fighting this lunacy with their focus on the inland waterways.
It is right and proper for this council to express our opposition to supertankers.
Not only did the SQRD and Terrace council pass motions to this effect but the Union of BC Municipalities passed two motions referencing Enbridge Northern Gateway.
One was: “that the UBCM be opposed to any expansion of bulk crude oil tankers” and the other: “that the Union of BC Municipalities oppose tar sands oil being shipped in pipelines across northern BC for loading onto crude oil tankers.”
We urge council not to wait until after the NEB has ruled; it could be taken as an acceptance of that body as a final judge in the decision to allow or ban supertankers. And that is not the NEB’s role. The NEB is only mandated to decide if the project is legal. But that isn’t the main issue. What we must judge; “Are the benefits worth the risk”. So far Canada has maintained a supertanker moratorium here because of our values, something NEB can’t address but council can. The amount of risk which one accepts is relative to the value one places on what is being risked. In Prince Rupert are lives are inextricably linked to the ocean, and its resources. ”
Another reason Council’s stance is important regardless of the NEB is that: We in Prince Rupert and our Council understand better than most people across Canada that: The First Nations in this region say no. There is a cultural resurgence on the north coast and the lack of treaties is a reality. The FN have a right to say no on issues critical to them, and there is a broad respect of this position across the region and across cultures.
The lone dissenting vote at SQRD claimed that if we keep pushing people away, our towns will die. This has no merit. On land, the economic end-result would be employment equivalent of a mid-sized Canadian Tire in Kitimat. The marine end result is frightening sized volumes of oil travelling through some extraordinarily treacherous waters, threatening our seafood resources which are continually increasing in value. It’s a lose lose scenario.
Spills are inevitable. Enbridges record on dealing with their pipeline spills is abysmal. They absolve themselves of all responsibility for tanker safety. I quote a question asked of Enbridge by Gary Reese, chief of Lax Kw’alaams, ‘how are you going to compensate my people if there is ever an oil spill’. They couldn’t answer that.
In conclusion I would like to invite council to an event tomorrow night where citizens are getting together to share information about this project and figure out how we can work together. That is Tuesday night at 7:00pm at the Fisherman’s Hall.
We recognize that this council’s votes helped pass the SQRD resolution and we thank you for that. And now that Prince Rupert is being mentioned more and more as a potential oil supertanker port, we look forward to you making it clear to Enbridge. that they are not welcome.