(Victoria) Leading environmental groups from BC and Canada have declared March 24th No Tankers Day, a national day of action to keep BC’s coast safe from oil spills. The 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill will be used to highlight the importance of keeping BC’s coast safe from oil spills and the threat of tar sands related oil tanker traffic.
“Most Canadians are unaware of plans to ship half the tar sands current production of oil through the fjords and waterways of BC’s Great Bear Rainforest,” said Eric Swanson, Corporate Campaigner for Dogwood Initiative. “The risk of an Exxon Valdez scale disaster is very real.”
Actions will target Enbridge Inc’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline, which is currently seeking regulatory approval. The proposal calls for a tanker port and pipeline that would ship tar sands crude oil to Asia via supertankers on BC’s coast. The project is opposed by environmental and citizen groups concerned with the threat of oil spills and the expansion of the Alberta tar sands.
“As the US puts pressure on Canada to clean up it’s act, tar sands producers are looking to ship it’s dirty oil out the back door to Asia,” said Nikki Skuce, Campaigner for Forest Ethics.
“We are not willing to sacrifice our wild salmon to benefit Alberta oil companies,” says Des Nobles of Friends of Wild Salmon, a citizens’ coalition calling for a public enquiry into the Enbridge project. “The Exxon spill destroyed the herring fishery in Prince William Sound. We don’t want to see that happen here.”
Events leading up to No Tankers Day include a talk on the legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill at the Vancouver Aquarium (March 6th 7:00pm) and an information tour of communities that would be affected by the Enbridge project.
Eric Swanson, Dogwood Initiative (250) 858 9990
Nikki Skuce, Forest Ethics (250) 877 7762
Des Nobles, Friends of Wild Salmon (250) 627 1859 (am) (250) 624 3921 (pm)
Mike Hudema, Greenpeace (780) 504 5601
Harjap Grewal, Council of Canadians (604) 340 2455
Christianne Wilhelmson, Georgia Strait Alliance (604) 862 7579
Oonagh O’Connor, Living Oceans Society (250) 230 6580
Bruce Hill, Headwaters Initiative (250) 615 7885
Chris Genovali, Raincoast Conservation (250) 655 1229 ext. 225