Tsleil-Waututh calls lack of federal oil spill disaster planning unacceptable

Nation responds to environment commissioner’s report.

Tsleil-Waututh Nation is responding with dismay to the February 5, 2013, report from Canada’s environment commissioner. The report revealed that the Harper government’s oil spill disaster planning is insufficient to address increased oilsands exports from B.C. ports and that current maritime liability limits for tankers may not be enough in the event of a major oil spill.

“The Harper government is asleep at the wheel. This report is proof that the Harper government is not taking the risks associated with pipelines and oil tankers seriously enough,” says Chief Justin George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation. “This is unacceptable given that they are deciding the fate of major pipeline projects and the fate of our communities. A spill would have dire consequences for our environment, the economy, and the industries our communities depend on, such as tourism and fisheries.

“We are opposed to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline project because we believe that it’s not “if” a spill will happen, but when,” continues George. “Kinder Morgan is planning to bring 350 to 400 oil tankers through Burrard Inlet each year. And now we know that when a spill does happen, the planning and resources to clean it up are not adequate.”

“The truth is that no amount of insurance will fix the damage caused by an oil spill. The effects will be felt by many generations to come,” says Carleen Thomas, Councillor, Tsleil-Waututh Nation. “This should be a wake up call to the people of British Columbia and their leaders. It’s time to say “no.” It’s time to stand up and protect our home and the economy of this province which greatly depends on healthy waters and healthy lands.”

Tsleil-Waututh Nation is adamantly opposed to Kinder Morgan’s proposal to build a new pipeline to bring crude oil/bitumen to foreign markets through Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea. The proposal would see the transport of crude oil expanded from its present level of approximately 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. The Nation has experienced the results of crude oil handling and refining on Burrard Inlet for a number of decades. The Nation is expecting government-to-government consultation on this project.

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