Salmon advocates call for swift passage of Oil Tanker Moratorium Act
Friends of Wild Salmon has called for the swift passage of the amended Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, before the House of Commons rises for the summer.
“In 2015, Justin Trudeau promised the people of the North Coast that he would bring in a tanker moratorium and we are now calling on him to keep that promise,” said Des Nobels, Chair of Friends of Wild Salmon. “It is a key step in safeguarding the future of our coastal ecosystems and the communities, cultures and economies that depend on them.”
Bill C-48 is the culmination of over 40 years of efforts to gain long-term protection for British Columbia’s North Coast from the threat of crude oil spills from tanker traffic. The moratorium described in the bill includes the Great Bear Rainforest, globally recognized for its ecological significance and tourism values.
Nobels said the moratorium brings certainty to a region that has been forced to spend years defending its coast and rivers from ill-advised crude oil projects.
“The grassroots campaign against the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline marked an unprecedented coming together of First Nations and non-First Nations around a vision of long-term sustainability. A moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic will not only protect our coast from tanker spills, it will provide assurance to upstream communities that future diluted bitumen pipelines are off the table.”
Friends of Wild Salmon applauded the Liberal Government’s rejection of a Senate amendment that would have required a Regional Assessment of the legislation shortly after it came into force. However, the group does not feel the Government’s proposal for a parliamentary committee review after five years is necessary given the ample consultation and numerous studies that have already occurred.
“This review proposal undermines the notion of providing certainty for Northwest B.C. communities, which was the impetus for the legislation in the first place,” said Nobels. “There have been scores of reviews and consultations over the past four decades. Now it’s time to finally get it done.”
The moratorium described by Bill C-48 would cover BC’s North and Central Coast, including Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. This 100,000-square-kilometre area stretches from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaskan Panhandle and includes the traditional territories of several coastal First Nations.
Friends of Wild Salmon is a coalition of community groups, First Nations and fishing organizations who have come together to protect the wild salmon of British Columbia’s North Coast and Skeena Watershed.
Des Nobels, Chair, Friends of Wild Salmon: