Green MLA Andrew Weaver describes Vancouver airport fuel plan as “madness”
The review of a project involving what Green MLA Andrew Weaver refers to as “floating bombs” is wrapping up.
After a suspension during the last provincial-election period, B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office will conclude on December 24 its evaluation of a proposed jet-fuel delivery system.
The Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation, a consortium of commercial airlines, plans to ship fuel up the South Arm of the Fraser River, unload at a tank farm in Richmond, and transport the aviation gas with a 15-kilometre pipeline to YVR.
That is “madness”, Weaver told the Straight by phone.
“In B.C., what we’re proposing to do is as follows: there’s a proposal to build the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. In order to actually have the bitumen flow, we’d actually have to ship in dilutants to pipe them to Alberta so we can liquefy the bitumen to pipe it to the coast, to put it into ships, to take it to Asia, to refine it into jet fuel, to bring it back in Vancouver,” Weaver explained.
The province’s only Green representative is also wary about fuel-laden barges and tankers. “You’re bringing floating bombs into the lower arm of the Fraser River. It’s crazy,” Weaver said.
Project director Adrian Pollard dismissed Weaver’s point about the fuel-bearing vessels as “wholly incorrect”.
“Aviation fuel is of relatively low volatility, and it’s been handled safely for decades through similar means in Burrard Inlet,” Pollard told the Straight by phone.
The VAFFC representative is optimistic that the project, estimated to cost between $70 million to $100 million, will be approved.
“A lot has happened in the last year, and I think the government has done some background work to understand spill response on the West Coast, largely because of some other bigger projects that have come in,” Pollard said in reference to proposed new oil pipelines in B.C. that would result in increased tanker traffic. “I think it’s helped them take a closer look at our project.”
Richmond and Delta councils have raised concerns about the planned jet-fuel facility.