Renew moratorium commitment, says MLA

  • Nov. 26, 2007 8:00 a.m.

North Coast MLA Gary Coons is calling on the provincial government to renew its commitment to the moratorium on oil tanker traffic on the north coast this week, after heavy storms caused an oil tanker to capsize and spill 560,000 gallons of oil into the Black Sea. This event, combined with a recent bunker fuel spill in San Francisco, prompted Mr. Coons to write to the Environment Minister, asking the government also to reveal what plans it has in place to deal with accidents involving vessels in northern waters. A moratorium on offshore oil development and oil tanker traffic has been in place for the north coast of BC since 1972. “The Black Sea catastrophe could happen here if we open up our waters to oil tanker traffic,” the MLA said. “Our region already experiences severe storms, and with climate change those storms are likely to get worse.” “Even a smaller spill, like that caused by the sinking of the Queen of the North, has dire consequences for ecosystems,” Mr. Coons said. “Now that we are getting more ocean-based traffic into Prince Rupert, we need to make sure we are prepared to deal with accidents and have the local capacity to deal with rescue situations.”