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NEWS RELEASE · 3rd June 2010
MP Nathan Cullen - Ottawa
Coastlines require legal protection from risky oil development

In direct contradiction with the will of British Columbians, the Harper government refuses to make the North Coast oil tanker moratorium law.

Just days after a Mustel Poll showed 80% of British Columbians opposed to oil tanker traffic off their coasts, the government again refused to adopt the NDP proposal to make the tanker moratorium law. In fact in a report released from Natural Resource Canada contends that that the moratorium on tanker traffic and off shore drilling are not binding and that the government could open our coasts to oil projects through a mere policy decision.

“Canadians can’t trust this government to protect our environment” said Nathan Cullen, New Democrat Energy Critic. “They have shown they are willing to ignore the risks in favour of big oil. The Environment Minister, of all people, is promoting a pipeline that would bring hundreds of oil tankers to our coast instead of investing in clean energy that could create jobs and safeguard our future”

The proposed Enbridge pipeline, slated to run a from the Alberta tar sands to the BC coast, would bring more that 225 oil supertankers yearly through the dangerous and remote northern BC coast; placing this diverse and fragile ecosystem at risk.

“BC’s pristine coast must be protected”, said New Democrat Fisheries and Oceans Critic Fin Donnelly. “On the eve of world oceans day, when the entire world celebrates the natural beauty of our oceans, I call on the government to make the moratorium law once and for all”

New Democrats also highlighted the fact that there is currently no law requiring the government to maintain the ban on offshore drilling, which was imposed through cabinet orders that have since expired. The current climate leaves the door open to converting offshore permits held by oil companies into new exploration licenses along BC’s coast.

“British Columbians have spoken, they want a legal binding ban on oil tankers,” said Cullen. The government can subject BC’s coast to risky oil projects tomorrow, or it could protect our coast by passing our bill.”