Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oil refinery proposals and concerns once again simmer on the North Coast stove

The prospect of oil refinery development on the North Coast has had a fairly low profile of late, taking a bit of a back seat to the engagement over LNG terminals, pipelines and such.

But, it's still there, part of a distant economic blue print of the region for some, the object of the marshaling of forces against it for others.

In the last month, the oil refinery topic started to work its way back into the Northwest discussion, first with Nathan Cullen's recent tour of the area to outline his Take Back Our Coast tour, a private members bill that would ban oil tankers off of the North Coast, while at the same time seemingly advocating for the development of oil refineries to ship refined products to world markets.

It for many appears to be a project at cross purposes, but the NDP MP for BulkleyValley-Skeena is clearly focused on his twin strategies as a path forward for the region. And while Mr. Cullen makes the tour of the region to outline his proposals, two different groups are still working on their plans to develop oil refinery capacity somewhere on the North Coast.

This month, the two proponents of oil refinery and shipment terminals for the North Coast both had some time with influential journalist Vaughn Palmer, through his Voice of BC Program.

David Black, the owner of the Black Press newspaper chain and proponent of Kitimat Clean shared an hour with Jeffrey Copenance the spokesperson for Pacific Future Energy Corporation, The latter organization has suggested that it would like to build an oil refinery and shipment terminal in Northwest British Columbia, with the possibility of it being placed somewhere on the North Coast, near Prince Rupert or Lax Kw'alaams.

Both gentlemen made their case for why their proposal offered the best opportunity and best benefits to the region should they move forward with development.

You can review those interviews below.


And while the two proposals continue to develop, plans to stop them in their tracks are also moving ahead, as a number of groups express their concern over any talk of  oil refinery development in the region.

One path that local opponents are taking is through the October/November edition of the publication the Gitga'at Guardian, which features a  page five article from Luanne Roth, retracing much of her previous work on the prospect of oil terminals and a concern that there may be plans in place to develop one on Ridley Island.

Gitga'at Guardian
Cover Page Oct/Nov
Item on Ridley Island from
Gitga'at Guardian pg 5

It's an observation that has been expressed before, through the website of Save our Skeena Salmon, an organization which appears to be taking the lead on many of the environmental issues related to oil refineries and LNG development in the area. The Prince Rupert Port Authority has in the past responded that at the moment, no facility of this kind is proposed for Ridley Island.

Still the awareness campaign  continues on, with local environmental groups hosting their own Film night on the topic, this Wednesday at Northwest Community College, with a 7 PM start time.

Wednesday Friends of the Skeena Salmon and the Prince Rupert Environmental Society will be reviewing the documentary Pretty Slick,  followed by discussions to come later on the theme of the potential dangers of oil refinery development and environmental concern.

The trailer for the Wednesday evening presentation can be found below:
All of which has made October Oil refinery month on the North Coast, with reviews and opinion for all shades of the debate.

For more on the plans of the Oil refinery developers and the issues surrounding the topic see our archive page here.

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