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NEWS RELEASE · 6th December 2010
NDP
New Democrats to force vote on B.C. supertanker ban - Motion seeks to protect northern coast from potentially catastrophic oil spills

Last Thursday, New Democrats used an opposition day motion to demand the government immediately present legislation to prevent oil supertankers from plying the hazardous waters off British Columbia’s sensitive northern coast.

“We’ve had a tanker moratorium off the B.C. coast for close to 40 years now,” said New Democrat Leader Jack Layton. “But Liberal and Conservative governments alike have told us they don’t feel bound to respect it. Well, the stakes are growing too high and the potential for disaster too great—we need to legislate the ban, immediately. We have even written the legislation for the government.”

The motion was introduced by BC MP Nathan Cullen (Skeena –Bulkley Valley), the New Democrats’ Natural Resources and Energy Critic. It calls on the government to “immediately propose legislation to ban bulk oil tanker traffic in the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound.”

Cullen introduced the motion in part to halt the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The bitterly controversial project would pipe raw bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands overland across BC to the coastal town of Kitimat—were it would be loaded onto supertankers for shipment to Asia.

“Banning tankers would protect the BC coast from Enbridge’s risky venture,” said Cullen. “It would also temper the unsustainable explosion of Canada’s tar sands sector and the climate-changing emissions that go with it.”

The motion was debated on Thursday, December 2nd. A final vote is expected tomorrow, Tuesday, December 7th.