TLBCC statement in opposition to Trans Mountain pipeline
June 5th, 2018, Tofino, BC – With the Liberal government’s recent announcement to purchase Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the board of directors of the Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce (TLBCC) wishes to reiterate its statement of opposition to this project.
The TLBCC was a registered intervenor in the flawed National Energy Board review process conducted under the Harper government. The board felt the review process failed to recognize First Nations as intervenors, was too limited in scope, and offered no assurances that an adequate spill response plan exists.
Tofino’s mainly tourism economy depends on the pristine environment of Clayoquot Sound and the board feels the threat of an oil spill from increased tanker traffic, combined with the inability to properly clean up bitumen in the marine environment, present far too great a risk to the coast. World famous Long Beach and Clayoquot Sound lie within 50km of the tanker route, which would see a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic from this project.
The board stands behind NDP Premier John Horgan’s questioning of the safety of transporting bitumen through the province of BC and its coastal areas. Unfortunately, residents of this area
have experience with oil spills. The Nestucca oil spill occurred when that barge collided with its own tugboat in 1989. At the time, despite the predictions of experts, oil quickly began washing ashore on Tofino’s beaches necessitating a local cleanup effort.
When the Trudeau government announced its approval of the Kinder Morgan project in 2016, the TLBCC board responded by expressing its disappointment, noting that the Prime Minister should be aware of the risks to this marine environment, given his love of visiting here with his family during summer vacations. The Ocean Protection Plan introduced by the Liberal government so far does not adequately plan for a bitumen spill in this and other coastal areas. The painful inadequacy of government response is still being keenly felt in Bella Bella, after a sinking tug spilled thousands of litres of gas and oil into the marine environment in 2016 causing continued devastation to shellfish habitat.
“We greatly value tourism from all Canadian provinces and would like to continue to provide the experiences of local and coastal offerings. The economy of this area and other coastal regions of BC depend on a clean environment, and the risks presented by this project are simply too great,” said TLBCC president Mathieu Amin.