REPORTING · 12th July 2012
Murray Minchin of Douglas Channel Watch got up at the Regular Meeting of Council on Tuesday, July 3rd to talk about Bill C38 and how it has altered the Joint Review Process.
“To date, the District of Kitimat has held a neutral position to 850 thousand barrels of Diluted Bitumen being pumped from Alberta’s Tar Sands to the tank farm in Kitimat and over 360 liquid petroleum super tankers per year calling to the port of Kitimat,” said Minchin.
He explained the District of Kitimat will remain neutral until the Joint Review Panel finish their process. Several councillors have tried to hold the Enbridge Feet to the fire but have been ‘handcuffed’ by Council’s position.
Minchin stated the JRP had the power to turn down projects if the risks outweighed the rewards.
“With the passing of Bill C38, this is no longer the case. Mayor and Council’s trust in the Process, their trust in the 3rd party independent review has been completely violated. The JRP can now only make a recommendation to the federal cabinet. This makes the Joint Review Process essentially meaningless because the Prime Minister and many Conservative MP’s have stated, well before all the evidence has been submitted, that the Northern Gateway Project will be given a green light. Your position of Neutrality has painted you into a corner of ineffectiveness because you missed all the deadlines for submitting evidence in the JRP Process and have submitted no information request to the proponent or to the Federal Government,” said Minchin.
He asked Council who runs the private port of Kitimat. According to the Enbridge Community Advisory Board, Kitimat is referred to as the District of Kitimat and the Private Port of Kitimat.
He explained Enbridge is under the impression there are no vessel restrictions in this private port, nor is there a harbour master. He questioned what the responsibilities the District of Kitimat had as a private port.
Minchin told the Council they are not accountable to the public for their decisions. There is no public body or representative to appeal to for their actions. He told the council they may be found liable for spill clean up costs if they are found negligent and the owners of the vessels cannot afford to pay.
He asked how the District of Kitimat will pay for losses incurred by residents who rely on the resources of BC’s North Coast for their livelihood if a foreign owner will not pay for damages from a spill or operations at the private port.
“Where would those hundreds of millions of dollars come from?” asked Minchin.
He suggested the District of Kitimat turn over their plans for a private port with 400 vessels calling on it per year. He stated if the District had no plans, then why have they decided not to make them.
“With the passing of Bill C38, independent and environmental review process in Canada is dead. There fore, there is no reason for the District of Kitimat to wait for the Joint Review Panel to render its decision to decide whether the District of Kitimat will support or not support the Enbridge Proposal. We are all standing on the edge of history here,” concluded Minchin.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated the decision which council would make would come as a notice of motion because they do not have any of the information on Bill C38. She asked Council not to answer any of the questions but asked them to ask questions.
Councillor Phil Germuth stated they asked Enbridge some questions and are still waiting
on the responses from them after 5 months. He thanked them for putting on the rally. Minchin said the rally was a significant turn out.
Councillor Rob Goffinet stated the liability was a big concern of everyone. He thanked Minchin for his concern. Several Councillors asked for a copy of the presentation. Monaghan asked him to drop off a copy of Bill C38 as she had not read it. Minchin joked he did not have a truck big enough.
I told them that
Comment by Bill Vollrath on 16th July 2012
When I addressed the JRP I told them as much. I told them that they were sacrificial pieces in a chess game in which the Kings and Queens, (as it has already been decided) will be left standing on both sides which will lead to immediate and short period of prosperity for some but long period of famine for those affected by the spills in the 2030s
Comment by Linda Halyk on 12th July 2012
Why would the Mayor expect a citizen to get her a copy of Bill C38?
Time to do some homework, Mayor.