No Tanks in the Burrard Inlet
Protect B.C. Waters. No crude oil tankers on B.C.’s Coast
This is a campaign of the “No Tanks coalition” www.notanks.org email: email@example.com
The Issues: Beginning three years ago, in 2007, China and Canada “tested” the feasibility of shipping crude oil from Alberta through Vancouver Harbour, on tankers. This process was undertaken without any public notice, discussion, or visible process. Former Federal Environment Minister, David Anderson, maintains that these shipments violate a federal moratorium on oil tanker traffic on Canada’s west coast. The oil is carried by pipeline from Alberta to the Kinder-Morgan Westridge Terminal in Burnaby.
Today, about 2 tankers per week ship Alberta crude oil through Vancouver Harbour. The tankers carry 500,000 barrels or 700,000 barrels of oil. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spilled 266,000 barrels into Prince William Sound. Kinder-Morgan intends to increase capacity to 10 tankers per week.
Risk: No Tanks member, Bill Gannon, a Vancouver accountant, has performed a risk assessment. A spill in Vancouver Harbour or Georgia Straight would harm the marine environment, regional business, our fishing industries, Vancouver’s reputation, and our enjoyment of our city. “Normal spillage” will cause an ongoing detriment to the marine environment of the region. Oil tanker spills are not rare, but rather common in and around oil ports. Kinder-Morgan plans to increase its terminal capacity to 10-tankers per week, year-round, making a tanker spill in Vancouver extremely likely if not inevitable eventually.
We estimate the financial damage from a large spill in this region would be $10-100 billion: fishing, shellfish, tourism, harbour shipping, conventions, seaside business (restaurants, etc.), and other Vancouver businesses. The entire region is risking its image as "Beautiful BC" and as "the Greenest City."
Crude oil: A spill in Vancouver would have devastating ecological, social and economic impact. Crude oil is far more destructive to a marine environment than the refined gasoline and other oil products that have historically been shipped to communities in B.C. Refined gasoline products tend to float on the water surface and will evaporate. Crude oil is far more toxic; it sinks, persists, and remains in the seabed and intertidal soils for decades.
Fisherman Ron Fowler – a Canadian representative on the Pacific Salmon Commission and a Director of the Area-F Trollers Association – believes an oil spill anywhere along the coast would devastate his industry. Fowler says:
“I’ve been fishing in BC since 1973 and I know practically every inch of this coastline. If we get an oil spill anywhere in these waters, it would wipe out every fishery we have, the shellfish, the salmon, the herring, not to mention the plankton that they feed on. An oil spill would move with the wind and tides and would devastate the intertidal zones.”
“The BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill may dwarf all those in history, but a spill even a fraction of that would be catastrophic on BC's coast. If the oil lobby gets its way, and continues with its plan to run crude oil tankers through Kitimat and Vancouver, then it becomes a question of when, not if. I have no faith in oil company promises that they are prepared to deal with the inevitable spill. History has shown such assurances are frivolous at best. More likely, they are pure lies.”
No Tanks group: About two years ago, fisherman Ron Fowler, Vancouver accountant Bill Gannon, author Rex Weyler, environmentalists Jeff Harrison and Jessie Schwartz, and others in the Vancouver community formed “No Tanks!,” a citizen’s coalition. Our purpose is to inform the public about the risks from oil tankers, put an end to crude oil shipments on B.C.’s coast, and thereby eliminating the risks to our region. We have since been joined by hundreds of citizens from the cities that border on Burrard Inlet, from West Vancouver to Burnaby. We have made presentations to municipal councils and other government officials, local, provincial, and federal.
Certified Management Accountant Bill Gannon, has completed an initial risk assessment. The economic impact in our region would likely be many billions of dollars. We have a committee working on a full economic impact analysis, which we will present to local business owners and municipal councils. We have the support of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Greenpeace, Dogwood Initiative, the Vancouver Board of Change, and other groups, who have offered their help and support.
No Tanks a committee working on a full economic impact analysis, which we will present to local business owners and municipal councils.
No Tanks has the support of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Greenpeace, the Vancouver Board of Change, Code Pink, Rabble.ca, Salmon Are Sacred, WebPress Manly Media, Vancouver Community TV society and other groups, who have offered their help and support.
No Tanks is organizing a city-wide citizen’s march and boat flotilla in and around the Vancouver Harbour on October 17. We selected this date so the fishermen can join us once they return from their summer fishing.
All our members are volunteers. We currently have no paid staff, no rent, or other overhead. We are doing this on a modest budget, with funds raised from concerned B.C. citizens.