Monday, May 15, 2017

Federal Government moves forward with North Coast/Haida Gwaii oil tanker ban

Transport Minister
Marc Garneau is steering
the Oil Tanker Moratorium
Act through the House of Commons
The Friday introduction of legislation in the House of Commons has set in motion the Liberal governments long anticipated plans to implement a ban on oil tankers in the waters of the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

The bill known as C-48 and titled the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act was presented by MP Jean-Yves Duclos who presented the Bill to the House on behalf of  Transportation Minister Marc Garneau.

In a statement issued in concert with the bill's introduction the federal cabinet minister highlighted the major aspects of what the government has planned.

“The Government of Canada is committed to demonstrating a clean environment and a strong economy can go hand-in-hand. Tabling this legislation is another step towards fulfilling our promise to formalize the tanker moratorium on British Columbia’s north coast. This, and other actions we are taking to improve marine safety through the Oceans Protection Plan, will protect the coasts and waterways that Canadians depend on for generations to come.”

You can view the short introduction of the bill from the Parliamentary Archive system here, it comes up at the 12:08 PM mark of the Friday proceedings.

The Summary for the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act introduces the legislation outlines the scope of what the Federal Government has in mind when it comes to the protection of the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

This enactment enacts the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, which prohibits oil tankers that are carrying more than 12 500 metric tons of crude oil or persistent oil as cargo from stopping, or unloading crude oil or persistent oil, at ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border. 

The Act prohibits loading if it would result in the oil tanker carrying more than 12 500 metric tons of those oils as cargo. The Act also prohibits vessels and persons from transporting crude oil or persistent oil between oil tankers and those ports or marine installations for the purpose of aiding the oil tanker to circumvent the prohibitions on oil tankers. 

Finally, the Act establishes an administration and enforcement regime that includes requirements to provide information and to follow directions and that provides for penalties of up to a maximum of five million dollars.

The coast line of Northern British Columbia and Haida Gwaii is set to see 
new legislation from the Federal Government, which has introduced Bill C-48. 
That bill will put in place a moratorium on the shipment of crude oil in the region.

Of note from the legislation are the two lists which outline which products will be included in the Moratorium and which products will still be allowed to be shipped from ports on the B.C. coast and transit through the waters off the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

Examples of related oil products included in the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act:

Partially upgraded bitumen 
Synthetic crude oil 
Petroleum pitch 
Slack wax 
Bunker C fuel oil 

Examples of related oil products not included in the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act:

Liquefied natural gas 
Naphtha Jet fuel 

The oil tanker moratorium had been one of the key elements of the Mandate letter that was created when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created his cabinet and name Mr. Garneau to be his Transportation Minister.

The bill will receive its second reading today in the House of Commons.

You can follow the progress of the legislation from this archive page from the House of Commons website.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen offered up a cautious reaction to the announcement, welcoming the long desired initiative and calling attention the past work that the NDP had done on the issue, including a private members bill that the MP had introduced in 2015 that had been voted down.

He did make note on Friday that the law proposed by the Liberals makes use of much of the bill he introduced in 2015 and that the introduction of the legislation is the result of hard work by Northwest First Nations and communities to protect sensitive marine environments.

“Congratulations to everyone who has played a part in finally getting the federal government to understand the absolute need for a moratorium on tanker traffic and loading and unloading facilities at ports in northern BC.

Today is a milestone along a journey that began over 40 years ago to ban crude oil tanker traffic along our precious coast. 

 But the devil is in the details and we’ll all be watching to make sure study of the proposed legislation is evidence-based and includes people in the Northwest who understand the risks of tanker traffic and have the most at stake in seeing strong protection of our coastline.” -- MP Nathan Cullen, on the introduction of proposed legislation from the Liberal government related to a moratorium on oil tanker traffic on the North Coast and off Haida Gwaii.

The full information release from Mr. Cullen can be examined here.

The bill gained some attraction through a number of media reports through the weekend, a sample of those notes can be found below:

Ottawa introduces law to ban oil tankers off northern B.C.'s north coast
Ottawa tables bill banning oil tankers from B.C. coast
New Liberal bill introduced will bar oil tanker from northern B.C. coast
Federal bill to ban tanker traffic on B.C. North Coast, excluding LNG
Federal government introduces bill to ban oil tankers along north coast
Liberals introduce oil-tanker ban for north coast and Haida Gwaii.
Heiltsuk Nation 'pleased to see progress' with Oil Tanker Moratorium Act
Heiltsuk Nation applauds Oil Tanker Moratorium Act
Trudeau details partial ban on oil tankers in North Pacific
Liberal bill will bar oil tanker from northern B.C. coast

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