Georgia Strait Alliance responds to new TMX conditions

Image by Jennie Wyatt.

Yesterday, the Province of B.C. released the long-awaited new Environmental Assessment conditions for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. In response, Georgia Strait Alliance’s Energy Campaigner Andrew Radzik said:

“The new conditions – to study the human health impacts of an oil spill and the collection of baseline data for B.C. shorelines in the event of a spill, as well as amendments to the bitumen research condition – are welcome. These were won by Indigenous leadership from the Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the City of Vancouver, and tens of thousands of environmental supporters. We applaud the Province for adding them, even if it took immense public pressure for them to do so. 

“But the fact the B.C. government hasn’t ordered health and shoreline response plans to go with those conditions is a huge red flag. By not setting a minimum standard for shoreline protection plans, we are now relying on federal and company measures that have no demonstrated effectiveness.  

“The Province could have set clear, measurable, and enforceable conditions, but chose not to use its powers. Instead it has chosen to rely on federal and company initiatives that they have in the past criticized as not being good enough. This means that the protection of the B.C. coast is now in the hands of the owner of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the Government of Canada.

“Many questions still remain: We still don’t know where the people who will clean up a spill on B.C.’s shorelines will come from, if there are enough trained responders for these untested shoreline protection strategies, and whether there is enough equipment to protect B.C. shorelines in multiple locations during a worst-case scenario spill. 

“Premier Horgan promised to use all the tools in the toolbox. He opened it, rummaged around, and left the most important ones behind. It’s yet another in a long line of broken environmental promises by this government.” 

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Ordered by the B.C. Court of Appeal, the re-examination period for several of the conditions that the B.C. government placed on the Trans Mountain expansion project has now concluded, with the Environmental Assessment Office’s amended and new conditions.