Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hands Across the Sand as the Cons rewrite history

Go to your beach on June 26 at noon. Join hands. That's it. NO to Offshore Oil Drilling, YES to Clean Energy

Hands Across the Sand began in Florida in February to "protest the efforts by the Florida Legislature and the US Congress to lift the ban on oil drilling in the near and off shores of Florida." Well it's a global movement now - here's the Vancouver Canada page.

But don't we already have a ban on tanker traffic and offshore drilling in BC?


Natural Resources Canada - Review of the Federal Moratorium on Oil and Gas Activities Offshore British Columbia


The Terms of Reference for the “Report of the Public Review on the Government of Canada Moratorium on Oil and Gas Activities in the Queen Charlotte Region of British Columbia” state that “in 1972, the Government of Canada imposed a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic through the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound due to concerns over the potential environmental impacts.” However; the moratorium on oil and gas activities offshore British Columbia does not apply to tanker traffic.
Prior to 1972, a number of permits for oil and gas exploration were issued for offshore British Columbia. Due to environmental concerns, rights under those permits were suspended as of 1972 by way of Orders in Council, thus forming a de facto moratorium.

Thank you, Pierre Trudeau, for suspending those offshore oil and gas exploration permits in 1972.

However in 1982 the Canadian government brought in the Canada Oil and Gas Act which allows the permits to be "renegotiated into exploration agreements" and "the time frame for renegotiation to be extended and the rights continued to be valid." In 1987, the Canada Petroleum Resources Act grandfathered the waiting exploration agreements.

"Thus, the moratorium continues to be maintained through government policy. No activity can occur until the former permits are converted to exploration licences. The decision not to negotiate with industry to convert those permits is a pure policy decision. There is no statutory impediment to carrying out those negotiations."

Shorter Con : No laws against oil tankers or offshore drilling in BC

The above "Errata", by the way, were added to the Natural Resources Canada webpage just last year.

Meanwhile the Pacific Regional Advisory Council on Oil Spill Response is being gutted :

Of the seven member panel, five new members replaced last year had to sign a "Letter of Expectation" limiting their meetings to only two half days per year and Transport Minister Baird has denied them access to drafts of changes to marine oil safety regulations on spill response preparedness

just as Enbridge tells us it wants its Northern Gateway pipeline shipping tankers of tarsands to Asia via the BC port of Kitimat "in operation by 2016."

We're going to need a lot more than Hands Across the Sands here but it's a start.

h/t to co-blogger West End Bob for passing on the Hands Across the Sand link from a friend of his in Florida.

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