LETTER: British Columbians won't tolerate putting marine environment in jeopardy

Dear Editor:

Re: Predictions for 2019: Traffic Down, Prices Up, Jan. 4 The North Side opinion column.

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Paul Sullivan brings up the basic problem with the Trans Mountain pipeline issue when he refers to diluted bitumen as “the most hazardous variety” of fossil fuel. Similarly, the Federal Court of Appeal, in overturning the approval of the pipeline, drives the point home in its statement that the federal government did not properly consider the impact on our marine environment – which would be devastating.

As a former senior officer involved with enforcing industrial health and safety regulations in B.C. (WorkSafeBC), I find it greatly disturbing that Transport Canada failed to enforce marine oil pollution regulations requiring the provision of effective emergency plans for the control and disposal of this oil pollutant in the event of an ocean spill.

Given that effective spill response measures are not technically feasible when dealing with diluted bitumen and the sediments in our turbulent waters, I believe that the roles of both Transport Canada and the National Energy Board were essentially emasculated because Ottawa had already planned on approving the pipeline.

If the federal government were to succeed in pushing through this pipeline, it would set the stage for massive lawsuits when an ocean spill eventually occurs and it becomes obvious to everyone that emergency spill response measures are indeed inadequate. As Sullivan indicates in his column, I believe British Columbians will maintain a firm and resolute stand that they simply do not and will not tolerate having their coastal marine environment placed in such great jeopardy.

John Sbragia
Bowen Island

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