CanadaMaritimeNews

British Columbia oil tanker ban hits resistance in Canada’s Senate

A proposed ban on large oil tankers off much of British Columbia’s northern coast hit a setback after it failed to get the support of a Canadian Senate committee.

The Senate’s Transport and Telecommunication Committee, in a split 6-6 vote, recommended against the passage of C-48: The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act.

“I agree that the sensitive coastal areas of northern B.C. deserve and demand environmental protection. I didn’t think C-48 did the job – but I was looking for middle ground. I didn’t find it,” Paula Simons, an independent Senator from Alberta who sits on the committee.

It will now be up to the full Senate to decide the fate of the legislation. It would ban tankers with more than 12,500 metric tons of crude or persistent oil from loading and unloading from the northern end of Vancouver Island to the Alaskan border, including the fast-growing Port of Prince Rupert.

“There remains strategic advantage to having an option for a low-cost route to Asia for crude oil and potentially for a low-cost import route for condensates,” Leach said. “Routing all of that potential traffic through the Port of Vancouver seems a sub-optimal solution.”

Andrew Leach, associate professor, University of Alberta school of business

The legislation, which already passed the House of Commons, was envisaged to protect the British Columbia coast from oil spills. But critics say it would damage Canada’s already beleaguered oil industry by creating barriers to exporting oil.

The bill has been widely unpopular in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the heart of Canada’s oil sands industry, since it would create barriers to getting its product to Asia. The industry has already been hit hard by the decline in global oil prices.

Andrew Leach, an associate professor at the University of Alberta’s school of business, told the Senate Transport Committee in April that the ban would remove future options to export oil, since ports such as Prince Rupert would be left out.

“There remains strategic advantage to having an option for a low-cost route to Asia for crude oil and potentially for a low-cost import route for condensates,” Leach said. “Routing all of that potential traffic through the Port of Vancouver seems a sub-optimal solution.”

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a journalist, editor and producer in Toronto. He covers Canada for FreightWaves, with a keen interest on the cross-border economic relationship with the United States. Nate spent seven years working as an investigative editor and reporter based in Kosovo. He covered everything from corruption to the country’s emerging wine industry. He also reported across the Balkans and investigated Albania’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Nate grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He enjoys exploring Toronto with his wife and is always looking forward to his next meal.

One Comment

  1. This ban has nothing to do with the environment. It’s proven at the operation of BC Ferries is far more damaging to ocean life and the environment than tanker traffic. The reason for this bill is a direct attack on Alberta by the eastern based Liberal Party, who have hated Alberta since Trudeau the Elder was Prime Minister. They don’t mind letting ships into Montreal or the East Coast carrying crude from terrorist supporting nations like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, but will do everything in their power to stop Alberta crude moving across the country. Much of this is pushed and promoted by foreign money interfering in Canada’s due political process.

    Fortunately, the Liberal scandals and gross mismanagement are coming to roost at election time. Forcing the Justice Minister to cover up for SNC Lavalin, who bought hookers and blow for Saddam’s sons. Paying $235 million to the China Infrastructure Bank to help those poor folks out. Paying a convicted terrorist $10 million for his hurt feelings. Canadians have had enough and we’re going to toss Trudeau the Younger and his gang of thugs out of office.

    This Biull can’t be amended. It is completely wrong. It needs to be scrapped completely.

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