Christy Clark wants provincial support for pipelines tied to Coast Guard stations
B.C. Premier Christy Clark has staked out a fresh stand on Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Bring back the Kits Coast Guard base, or forget about the province’s support for the pipeline project, Metro News reports Clark said today.
“When they get to the outcome, it’s going to have to include making sure that Kits Coast Guard base is reopened,” the premier said in reference to the federal government. “The outcome is also going to have to include a beefed up Coast Guard response up and down the coast.”
Metro News originally described Clark’s comments as an “ultimatum.” Shortly after that article’s publication, CKNW reported that Clark took issue with that characterization, and would speak to clarify the matter later in the day. (Update: Speaking to CKNW, Clark said: “If they want to convince the people of our province that they intend to protect our coast, they can’t keep that Kits Coast Guard base closed. They’ll have to reopen it.”)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada shut down the Kitsilano Canadian Coast Guard Station on February 19, despite widespread opposition in B.C. to the closure.
The Kinder Morgan project will twin an existing pipeline running from Edmonton to Burnaby, increasing capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000. It’s estimated the expansion will result in as many as 408 tankers per year moving oil through Metro Vancouver’s coastal waters.
Clark’s comments follow a March 18 announcement on oil tanker safety made by the federal government at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority office. There, Canada’s natural resources minister and transport minister advertised the federal government’s plan as “world class.”
New measures include the establishment of a Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) incident command system; new “aids to navigation” to be installed and maintained by the CCG; and the CCG developing “options for enhancing Canada's current navigation system."
Clark told Metro News that more Coast Guard stations are required.
“If they’re closing down Coast Guard stations at the same time that they’re saying they want to improve our Coast Guard capacity, the two just don’t make sense beside each other,” she said. “It sounds to a lot of people like what they’re saying is different from what they’re doing and that poses a real problem for the expansion of heavy oil in British Columbia.”
In July 2012, the premier issued a statement outlining “five principles that must be addressed” if her government is to “consider support for such pipeline developments.” Two of those points concerned tanker traffic safety.