(Victoria) Hundreds of Canadians held protests, outreach events and parties across the country to mark No Tankers Day yesterday, a national day of action to keep BC’s coast safe from oil spills. March 24 was the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and environmental groups used the day to remember the tragedy and highlight the importance of keeping BC’s coast safe from oil spills.

“The Exxon Valdez disaster illustrated how destructive an oil spill can be,” said the Dogwood Initiative’s Executive Director, Will Horter. “And with Enbridge Inc.’s proposed tanker and pipeline project, BC coastal fisheries, communities and wildlife could suffer the same fate.”

The proposed Enbridge tanker project would bring over 250 super tankers a year to the Kitimat port to export Alberta tar sands oil to Asian markets. The project is opposed by environmental, citizen groups and First Nations concerned with the threat of oil spills and the expansion of the Alberta tar sands.

No Tankers Day events included NoTanker Loonie parties from Victoria to Quebec, a speaking tour and movie night in northern British Columbia, community outreach events at universities in British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario, as well as a statement by NDP North Coast MLA, Gary Coons, in support of No Tankers Day in the BC Legislature. Supporters were also asked to make all their purchases in NoTanker Loonies on March 24.

Environmental groups including BC’s Dogwood Initiative, Living Oceans Society and the West Coast Environmental Law are calling on the federal government to protect BC’s north coast from oil tanker spills with a legislated bank on oil tanker traffic.

No Tankers Day Victoria Rally

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In Victoria, No Tankers Day supporters costumed as bears, wolves and bald eagles played out the scenario of an oil spill along the coast of BC‘s Great Bear Rainforest.  Photos:Jeff Bartlet.

High-res images available on request.