Thursday, April 24, 2014
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First Nations call tanker safety announcement lip service

Want Ottawa to commit to all 45 recommendations from a tanker safety panel

Sara Norman (Vancouver)

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – An announcement from Ottawa it will only review findings from an independent panel on oil tanker safety isn’t sitting well with BC’s First Nations. Without the government’s commitment to 45 changes, they’re calling the panel a useless exercise.

Art Sterritt with Coastal First Nations says the government pushing for what they’re calling a “world class tanker safety system” is just lip service without adopting recommendations like increasing Coast Guard resources and oil company liability.

“We get a lot of fancy language, we get people trying to convince the public that they’re doing something better when the reality is they spin it, and then they put it back to bed, and we don’t get anything better than what we had when we started this exercise,” says Sterritt.

According to Sterritt a world class tanker safety system is not good enough for British Columbia, as it means we will still see spills, but won’t be able to clean them up. “There is nothing on this planet, no technology, that this industry has put out there that can clean up a spill in coastal British Columbia.”

Even if the government does increase liability, Sterrit isn’t sure how they plan to chase down ships and hold them accountable in the event of an oilspill, when many ships fly what he calls flags of convenience and aren’t easily traced.

Sterritt warns the Feds shouldn’t be looking at transporting oil by water until they approve all recommendations in the report including an end to liability limits and increased resources for the coast guard.

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