Federal Liberal support for B.C. oil tanker ban applauded

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Nikki Skuce, Senior Energy Campaigner,
250-877-7762 or 778-210-0117

Federal Liberal support for B.C. oil tanker ban applauded

Announcement brings B.C. one step closer to a legislated ban

WASHINGTON - Environmental groups are praising Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal
Party of Canada for their commitment today to formalize the oil tanker
ban in British Columbia. Such a ban would prevent crude oil tankers from
traveling through BC’s Central and North Coast.

“Michael
Ignatieff’s announcement to formalize the ban on oil tankers is
precisely the kind of leadership we need on this issue. We thank him for
making the commitment to ensure that the marine life, people, and
economy of coastal BC is protected from catastrophic oil spills,” says
Jennifer Lash, Executive Director of the Living Oceans Society.

Last
month, Enbridge filed its application for the Northern Gateway
Pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil to a supertanker port at
Kitimat and bring 225 oil tankers per year to B.C.’s North Coast.
Environmental groups, including Dogwood Initiative, Forest Ethics,
Living Oceans Society, and West Coast Environmental Law have been
calling for a permanent, legislated ban on crude oil tankers to protect
the coast from oil spills.

“The only way we can ensure that the
ban on tankers is strong enough to withstand pressure from oil companies
is to formalize it through permanent legislation,” says Josh Paterson,
Staff Lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law. “With today’s
announcement, we believe there is enough support among all opposition
parties in the House of Commons to make this happen soon. As Liberal
leader, Mr. Ignatieff can play a pivotal role in passing legislation
to ban tankers.”

Support for a ban on oil tankers has risen since
the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. A poll conducted in May 2010 by the
Mustel Group showed that 80 percent of British Columbians support a ban
on crude oil tankers.

“The images of oil drenching the shorelines
from the BP spill have reminded British Columbians how fortunate we are
to have an oil-free coast,” stated Nikki Skuce Senior Energy Campaigner
at ForestEthics. “With today’s announcement by the Liberal Party of
Canada, we are one step closer to giving the people of B.C. what they
have wanted for a long time: a legislated ban on oil tankers.”

Coastal
First Nations have already declared a ban under their traditional laws
on oil tankers in their territorial waters. Federal legislation would
demonstrate Parliament’s shared commitment to safeguarding the Pacific.
There are currently no crude oil tankers travelling the inside waters of
B.C.’s north and central coast.

“In light of the Liberal
announcement today, Enbridge should formally withdraw their proposal to
build a pipeline to Kitimat,” added Eric Swanson, Corporate Campaigner
at the Dogwood Initiative. “It is a waste of time and taxpayers’ money
to conduct a review of this project if the will of Parliament is to
enact a permanent tanker ban.”

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Founded in 2000, ForestEthics is a nonprofit environmental organization with staff in Canada, the United States and C­hile. Our mission is to protect Endangered Forests and wild places, wildlife, and human wellbeing--one of our focus areas is climate change, which compromises all of our efforts if left unchecked. We catalyze environmental leadership among industry, governments and communities by running hard-hitting and highly effective campaigns that leverage public dialogue and pressure to achieve our goals.

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