On July 26th, it became apparent that Enbridge – the same company that wants to bring two tar sands pipelines and 225 oil supertankers per year to the north coast of BC – was responsible for a crude oil spill of close to 4 million litres into a Michigan river.
Dogwood Initiative sent out a Media Release making the obvious comment that the spill effectively debunks their claims of safety here in British Columbia. However, we don’t need any more spills to do that. We don’t need another morning to know that the sun will come up. Enbridge has been spilling oil for years. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when, where, and how large.
So, though Enbridge is now more pointedly making this argument for us, we here at Dogwood are happy to move on with actually winning this campaign to keep oil tankers out of BC’s north coast for good. That means no Enbridge Northern Gateway project, no CN Rail tankers from Prince Rupert or Kitimat, and no Kinder Morgan ‘Northern Leg’.
We may have to stomach additional spills occurring elsewhere in the world, but we can at least be sure that our own abundant coastline and salmon rivers are spared.
Here’s why we’re going to win:
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- Polling shows that 80% of British Columbians oppose oil tanker traffic on the north coast. This is an incredible pool of democratic muscle to flex.
- All nine First Nations on BC’s north coast have already made the decision to ban tar sands oil tankers. They issued a declaration in Vancouver, and they gathered in Kitimaat to cement it using their own traditional laws and governance systems. They have stated that they will not be bought out or divided in this matter. Plus, they’re joined by an additional 19 Interior First Nations in opposing Enbridge, e.g. click here. These Nations have more power than our provincial and federal governments, and the oil industry, would like to believe.
- Though Gordon Campbell’s public statements reveal support for the project, his opinion is more or less irrelevant. Jurisdiction over oil tankers and the pipeline route lies heavily with the federal government. Opposition to oil tankers polls higher than opposition to the HST in BC. Campbell would have to be insane to publicly support oil tankers. He knows this, so the only help our Premier can give Enbridge is to encourage us all to have faith in the project review process.
- The review process in question: the Joint Review Panel overseen by the National Energy Board, has failed to meet the Crown’s constitutional duties to First Nations. Thus, court challenges are likely. In addition, the entire federal review process would be dangerously de-legitimized if the project was somehow approved over the existing overwhelming public opposition.
- The Liberal Party of Canada and the NDP have committed to work towards a legislated oil tanker ban for BC’s north coast. The Bloc Quebecois have seemingly nothing to lose, and may have something to gain, by supporting an oil tanker ban in BC. Thus, we have a likely majority of Parliament onside to support Bill C-502 or a similar bill that would ban north coast oil tankers.
- Dogwood is strategically building a community of supporters in key political ridings in BC to make sure that those politicians that support and work for an oil tanker ban get credit for this during the next federal election.
- Individual British Columbians are standing up like never before, with people like Norm Hann, Hannah and Tyese Cycling for the Sea, Frank Wolf and Todd McGowan, and Faroe des Roches, Curtis White, Ryan Vandecasteyen and Lisa Blachut.
Enbridge’s performance in Michigan gets the reality of spills into the news; but a bigger train has always been coming at them.
The core of the No Tankers plan is to continue to build the movement in anticipation of the next federal election, and to encourage all of the federal Opposition Parties to work together, and to work for us, by moving oil tanker ban legislation through the House this fall. If that’s going to happen, they need to continue to hear from us.