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September 30, 2013
Deputy minister of environment says spills are “going to happen”
VICTORIA— Premier Clark is putting B.C.’s north coast on the auction block with her “The Price is Right” pipeline policy, says New Democrat environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert.
“The government’s own experts have made it clear that if we allow the Enbridge pipeline to go forward oil spills are inevitable,” said Chandra Herbert. “Yet, instead of standing up for the interests of British Columbians and the thousands of people whose jobs depend on a clean coast, Premier Clark is busy playing ‘The Price is Right’ with Alberta over oil pipelines.”
On Sept. 25, the deputy minister of the environment was asked on the radio if a spill was “a matter of when as opposed to if” when it comes to oil transport along the coast. He responded by saying, “I have to be entirely honest in saying, you know, spills unfortunately are going to happen.”
“The highest ranking civil servant in the Ministry of the Environment says spills are going to happen. So what price is Premier Clark putting on our clean coastal environment and the thousands of jobs it supports?” asked Chandra Herbert.
Chandra Herbert noted that a briefing note prepared this summer by the Ministry of Environment shows that B.C. is unprepared to deal with an oil spill off our coast. Even worse, the Liberals have put the foxes in charge of the henhouse by stacking their Spill Preparedness and Response advisory committee with oil industry insiders.
“Even a single oil spill could cost billions of dollars and destroy thousands of jobs,” said Chandra Herbert. “Yet Premier Clark is ready to put a price on the future of our coast in the face of opposition from many B.C. First Nations and the majority of British Columbians, and despite the fact that many B.C. businesses rely on a healthy marine environment.”
Chandra Herbert says the Liberal government’s fixation on oil pipeline development is troubling given the latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change.
“We know that climate change is real, and it’s only going to put more stress on our ocean environment,” said Chandra Herbert. “The last thing that we need is to increase the chances of a catastrophic oil spill in our coastal waters.”