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The oil tanker moratorium bill that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has long promised is now closer to becoming law after successfully passing in the House of Commons.
The bill will now make its way to the Senate. If passed, Bill C-48 will ban tankers that carry more than 12,500 metric tons of oil along a stretch of the BC Coast that starts at the tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaskan border.
Trudeau originally proposed the idea of the ban on tanker traffic in late 2015—dealing an near death blow to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, which sought to transport oil from Alberta to BC—an area that the ban would cover. Trudeau kiboshed the Northern Gateway project a year later.
Environmentalists are cheering the ban’s Wednesday victory, but indigenous communities remain divided, with some taking an environmental protectionist stance and others, such as indigenous-owned Eagle Spirit, are bemoaning the ban because it would interfere with a $16 billion pipeline that it is proposing. The bill would either see the pipeline project fail or rerouted.
Eagle Spirit is planning to fight the would-be ban, and has even created a GoFundMe page to cover the legal costs associated with it.
Ironically, the oft-used complaint that pipeline companies and governments don’t consult with indigenous peoples before moving ahead is now being used by this pro-pipeline indigenous group Usually the complaint is that companies fail to consult with indigenous communities over the environmental effects it will have on that population.
BC, which has been embroiled in an ugly battle with neighboring Alberta over another pipeline project, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain, launched earlier this week even more legislation at the hands of its environmental ministry. This time, the legislation seeks to cut carbon emissions in the province by 40 percent from 2007 levels over the net 12 years, and 60 percent by 2040.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.