B.C. NDP says Andrew Weaver's position on a Kitimat oil refinery means the Greens have sold out

The B.C. NDP’s environment critic has come out swinging against the Greens.

According to Spencer Chandra Herbert, the B.C. Green Party has apparently sold out.

On Thursday (February 6), the Vancouver-West End MLA called the Straight in response to a statement made by Green representative Andrew Weaver regarding the “merit” of an oil refinery planned for Kitimat that would process Alberta crude.

“It just seems like the Green Party is selling out,” Chandra Herbert said in a telephone interview.

He acknowledged that the “value-added proposition” in the oil refinery project hatched by newspaper publisher David Black is a “good one”.

However, the New Democrat said he doesn’t see how laying a pipeline like Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway to feed a refinery makes sense.

“If the Green Party’s argument has been, as ours has been, as the B.C. Liberal government’s has been, if you can’t even respond to an oil spill or a leak from a pipeline along much of that route, how could you support a refinery at the end of it?” Chandra Herbert asked.

He described that as the “flaw in Andrew’s argument”.

“It’s like, ‘We don’t support the pipeline, but we support the refinery at the end’. Well, are you going to airlift the oil? It doesn’t work,” Chandra Herbert said.

“I don’t see how you can have it both ways,” he continued. “You can’t claim to support a refinery, but then be against how you get the oil to that refinery.”

In comments that were not included in the story that appeared in this week’s Georgia Straight, Weaver said that “B.C. Greens have agreed and accepted the five conditions of the B.C. Liberal government” for the construction and operation of oil pipelines in the province.

As outlined by the provincial government in July 2012, these conditions include the completion of an environmental review process, a world-leading marine oil spill response, top of the line practices for land oil spill prevention, respect for aboriginal rights, and for B.C. to get a “fair share” of the economic benefits of a “heavy oil project”.

“We have added a sixth condition,” Weaver said.

And that is there should be no transport of diluted bitumen both on land, which means through a pipeline, and coastal waters.

What he’s suggesting is processing bitumen in Alberta into a lighter form – synthetic crude – before it is piped to B.C.

The MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head went on to say that that synthetic crude should be further processed by an oil refinery in Kitimat to produce gasoline and other end products.

According to Weaver, the environmental risks posed by shipping gasoline and diesel are less compared to a spill of diluted bitumen at sea.

He noted that putting gasoline on ships and barges is being done “anyway now”, for example, in meeting the fuel needs of Vancouver Island.

“So it’s not as if that’s not going on all over the world,” Weaver said. “It’s just the heavy stuff that’s a real problem.”

Comments (23) Add New Comment
Gypsy
The Greens are a Liberal party.
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Gary Sniper
What colour does your face turn when you are sick... GREEN... definitely without leadership, no real ideas, support the wrong stuff
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NDPsellout
Interesting how the NDP is simply against everything rather than looking for solutions. Imagine how an NDP Government would get nothing done? Oh, but we already have seen that in the 1990's. Time to move forward folks, not backwards!
Some would say the NDP long ago sold out to one special interest group - what happened to representing all BC voters?
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carrie-anne
if our nation is going to move forward with the tar sands and other fracking ventures(against tax payers opinion)it would only seem right that we refine our own bitumen rather than take the risk involved in piping it to another location or country.
when bitumen is shipped via any pipeline it is exempt from pipeline spill tax making it cheaper to ship than oil or gas, this needs to be changed. bitumen is far more difficult to clean up when spilled into waterways than gas or oil. it does not float on top but sinks directly to the bottom and stays in the water source for years; therefore it should be more heavily taxed than other oil products.
canada was once a proud country. we were considered the stewards of the land, keeping it for generations not yet come. now we are the largest polluters with the largest fracking sight in the world! how did we get here from there? what changed to make our greedy government begin the wholesale of our natural resources? what is in it for them, i often wonder as i watch crime minister heartless harper sell our children's future down the river to the highest bidder. where are all the crazy people when you need a good sniper? why have canadians not gone postal yet? could be something in the water....
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Lee L
@Gary Sniper .. you said: "no real ideas, support the wrong stuff"

So what WOULD be the right stuff to support bearing in mind that China WILL get its crude from Russia if not from Canada, and that Russia WILL (very likely) go looking for that crude under the Arctic seabed where the dangers of a blowout like BP had but in the inaccessible Arctic are not just the usual exaggerations of ecozealots? What WOULD be the right stuff to support?

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Arthur Vandelay
You see Spencer, this is the difference between a real political party and a protest movement. They realize that in the real world, sometimes you have to do things that are the lesser of two evils. Only in fantasy worlds can one accomplish things that are always 100% perfect all the time. This is the reason the NDP can snatch defeat from the jaws of sure victory, because real world voters simply don't believe that governments who operate only in a theoretical world can accomplish anything in the real world.
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cuz
Hey, if anybody knows about selling out, it'd be the ndp. Spencer should consider that maybe the greens actually looked at the facts instead of just being the party of NO.
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Nicholas Ellan
Weaver's proposal makes no economic sense. I agree that it would be ideal to refine oil domestically into its final products - this would create many, many jobs. But that would also entirely eliminate the need for a port-based refinery, as why would we ship gasoline overseas when there is so much domestic demand for it? The whole point of these raw-export proposals is profiteering at the expense of jobs, enabled by free-trade agreements in the 80s and 90s which dismantled the protections which prevented this. By all means, let's end raw exports. Why don't the Greens just say that?
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boris moris
Weaver believes he's making the best of a bad situation. He's making a compromise instead of showing leadership.

Compromise this, Weaver: ======0

I guess those of us who actually believe we're living on borrowed time due to climate change will have to depend on First Nations to stop the pipeline dead in its tracks. The oceans are almost toast, adequate fresh water supplies are at grave risk and toxins continue to proliferate everywhere. How about putting the brakes on development and dial it all back. Sure, people in first world would have to make many harsh sacrifices....kind of like those in the third world who have had to forego life spans much above 40 years due to malnutrition because Western powers have been looting their resources for centuries while propping up brutal despots.

How about just saying no to turning Alberta and Canada into a toxic wasteland. How about not driving 400 hp parade floats so you can look proud at the junk food palace and keep pace with your equally moronic friends.

Pipeline? Who in their right mind would trust BC Liberals or Harper to actually have world class spill response? Just yesterday we learned that a major pipeline blowout was kept secret by the feds.
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Lee L
@Rantin' Boris Morris ... you said:

"those of us who actually believe we're living on borrowed time due to climate change"
BOris, this belief you have is not unique. A THINKING person will believe the same thing. A THINKING person knows that we are due within a short time ( geologic time) to exit this cosy interglacial which you have misconstrued as NORMAL and will reenter the deep cold of the ICE AGE we still live in. This deep cold will result in massive SPECIES DEPLETION and perhaps the extinction of the human life form. You and I will be long gone, but near future generations will have to deal with it and quite possibly will die out from it. It's normal.
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Elvenkitty
The day when the NDP does better than the Greens on effing environmental issues...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. The BC/Canadian Greens, unlike their counterparts in other countries (even the US!) which have actual leftist policy platforms, still like to keep libertarians and other right-wingers around, because somehow the free market will get us out of the extremely profitable, carbon-soaked mess it got us into and keeps us in with massive PR campaigns from oil producers...-sigh-

Why did I ever think that politics in this province would go anywhere but rightwards?
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Chris A
I think I'll stick to the Marijuana Party.
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CarbonCounter
For someone who has insisted that it's essential for Canada to reduce its C02 emission, it's puzzling that Andrew Weaver should now be adopting this position which will entail continued development of bitument deposits.

It's now well understood that development of the tar sands is the biggest factor in the growth of Canada greenhouse gas emissions. Canada will fail to even come close to meeting its 2020 target of a 17% of emissions relative to 2005. This will be due entirely to development of the tar sand. And projected continued development will see Canada's emission grow significantly between 2020 and 2030.
(E.g., see: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/dont-buy-the-spin-on-our-emi...)

Moreover, Black's refinery proposal means a further investment in the use of fossil fuels. This is just the type of investment that Andrew Weaver has strenuously argued against because it represents a further commitment to the use fossil fuels, rather than renewable sources of energy.
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Grant G
Andrew Weaver also praised Gordon Campbell for his carbon tax, you know, that carbon tax money that is returned to corporations in the form of tax cuts..

http://powellriverpersuader.blogspot.ca/2010/04/577the-unluckiest-number...
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Gilbert marks
The market for oil is about to take a dive with alternate dirt cheap clean energy electricity based fuels in EV's and hydrogen. Why waste money on pipes and refineries.

Fact is the shipping tar by rail is certainly far safer and undoubtedly cheaper than dilbit by pipe.

You could fill a bitumen tanker car with holes and the tar at Canadian outdoor temps would flow out like a solid lump of 10 year old peanut butter.

Same same tanker.

Just add steam pipes to the bulk carriers to liquidify the tar (sorry bitumen) for loading/unloading.

Straight shot Rupert to China nothing in the way. Tanker sinks with Tarball inside - no leaks.

"NuStar has leased special rail cars to transport the heavy Canadian oil. When bitumen is loaded onto rail cars, it’s at a temperature of 150 to 180 degrees, but cools down during the trip. When the rail cars arrive at refineries, they’re hooked up to a steam-producing mechanism that heats the heavy oil enough to be unloaded.."

http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/05/27/rail-picks-up-steam-as-a-way-to-move-...
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Will
Why didn't The Straight include the full text of Weaver's comments in their original story? A bit of self censorship in favour of the BC Liberals? It seems to me that Spencer was merely reacting to Weaver's comments as they originally appeared in The Straight. It really seems that the quality of journalism has slipped significantly in BC in the last decade. There's no excuse for that kind of sloppy journalism.
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CarbonCounter
A. Weaver's previous support of the Liberal/Gordon Campbell carbon tax made was consistent with the well supported notion that price signals are required to move away from the use of fossil fuels. This was a position that made some sense.

Here though, it makes no sense. At the very minimum, he has now given a semi-endorsement to Black's proposal for the export of refined fossil fuels from tar sands. This is a really wrongheaded proposal on several levels. Just because it is less horrendous than Northern Gateway is hardly a reason to lend it support.
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Martin Dunphy
Will:

Thanks for your feedback. However, it should be apparent that there was no "self-censorship" or "sloppy journalism" involved in this story if you read both carefully.
The first story was a Straight Talk piece, which is a short news bite in a regular section of our print edition, with very limited space, which is reproduced here for our online readers.

What Andrew Weaver told our reporter was not all "news"--regarding the backing of the B.C. Liberals' five conditions for the pipeline crossing this province--but the "sixth condition" of the Greens was new, and that is what was originally reported.
That is also what Spencer Chandra Herbert reacted to for the story above.

I guess if we are guilty of anything, it was in not providing a link to the original story.
That has now been rectified.
Thanks again for your comment.
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Donald
"So what WOULD be the right stuff to support bearing in mind that China WILL get its crude from Russia if not from Canada"

"If we don't sell it to them someone else will" are the exact words that have come from the mouths of thousands of smack and crack dealers. Congratulations!

The right stuff to be supporting, is renewable energy, tourism, and land-based fish-farming, ect.
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Lee L
@Donald you said??
"The right stuff to be supporting, is renewable energy, tourism, and land-based fish-farming, ect"

Ok now let us realize this is in the context of your trying to prevent or undermine the transportation of a fossil fuel. THat is what your post is about.

But your post does raise other questions. I asked what would be appropriate for Weaver ( or anyone for that matter ) to support? Since your objection was to his not condemning outright a fossil fuel pipeline, I have to assume that your reply was intended to resist any further use of any fossil fuels anywhere.

Taking your reply verbatim, I would have to ask :
If he supports tourism should he then support the refining of airline fuel to transport tourists from another country(say China)? or does he just say any tourist has to cycle to BC?
Maybe you were referring to sailboat/diving ecotourists who had the means to travel by sailboat through the Panama Canal from New York to then hike or bike in BC? And maybe you figured they would want to cycle to an inland lake and fish for stocked salmon in a land based fish farm on a lake-yacht? It could work but for a very very few paying customers, I suspect.
Perhaps you could have a change of mindset, and decide that sending Dilbit to CHina would 'support' Chinese tourists.

Now supporting renewable energy could be interpreted a few ways. HYDRO which the government of BC already fully supports, has unfortunate side effects such as drowning the Peace River valley agricultural lands and in the case of wind or solar, being extremely unsightly, unreliable and in the case of adequate solar collection, equivalent to clearcutting by solar starvation of trees.

So... until humanity figures out fusion power which, rather than being'sustainable' is 'inexhaustible', I say we transport the bitumen in whatever form or means is the least risky and be content that if we do that safely, we will be more in control of environmental disasters than a Russian drill platform trying to tap the Arctic seabed could ever be.

Just my opinion.









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