NEWS RELEASE · 1st October 2012
B.C. New Democrats are calling on Premier Christy Clark to distance herself from comments made by one of her MLAs over the weekend in support of offshore drilling on B.C.'s coast.
"Premier Clark is in meetings in Alberta today looking for a chunk of the profits from the potentially devastating Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, while John Rustad is pushing the idea of re-opening the offshore oil debate,” said New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming. "The Liberals just don't seem to understand that B.C.'s environment is not for sale."
John Rustad, a parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, recently re-opened the door for discussion on offshore drilling, saying on his Facebook page, “With the debate raging around pipelines I'm sure there isn't much appetite for offshore oil and gas. However, if B.C. is ever going to become debt free, one day this is going to have to happen.”
Fleming noted that there has been a solid moratorium in place protecting B.C.’s coastal waters from oil and gas platform drilling since 1972. And in 2004, when Clark was deputy Premier, the Royal Society of Canada submitted a report showing that offshore drilling was risky and that the moratorium should remain.
“While the Liberal government sat on the fence and signed away B.C.’s jurisdiction on the Enbridge pipeline proposal, Adrian Dix and B.C.‘s New Democrats stood with British Columbians in firm opposition,” said Fleming. “It is unbelievable that the Liberals would put our coast under further threat by re-opening the off-shore drilling discussion.”
Fleming pointed out that B.C.'s pacific coast neighbours in Washington, Oregon and California reaffirmed their bans on offshore drilling exploration after the Gulf of Mexico BP disaster.
“Mr. Rustad is being irresponsible by re-opening a deeply divisive debate about bringing further risks to our coastline that would affect the environment, the economy, First Nations, and all British Columbians. While the premier has failed to truly stand up for British Columbia on the Enbridge pipeline, I hope she will at least clarify her government’s position on offshore drilling.”
B.C.’s New Democrats have consistently pressed for a continuation of the moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling in British Columbia.