Three in four British Columbians support a ban on crude oil tanker traffic in BC’s inside coastal waters

Media Release: January 19, 2006

Political Parties asked to clarify for voters their positions on offshore oil and gas issues

Vancouver-According to a new Mustel Group poll of 501 British Columbians, commissioned by the Dogwood Initiative and other not-for-profit groups, three out of four (75%) of British Columbians are opposed to oil tankers transporting crude oil through BC’s inside coastal waters.

A moratorium on all oil and gas activities including tanker traffic has protected the BC coast since 1972. Recently the moratorium has been challenged by the provincial government and by Alberta based Enbridge that is planning to build a pipeline carrying tar sands crude oil to a tanker terminal in Kitimat.

To date, the federal political parties and their candidates have not been consistent with their position on the offshore oil and gas moratorium. “This inconsistency is making it difficult for voters to make an informed decision,” says David Fields of Greenpeace. “This is why we’re asking that all Federal parties clearly state whether they support the continued ban on tanker traffic and oil and gas development activities on BC’s coast.”

A nation-wide StratComm poll commissioned by Greenpeace also found that 60% of Canadians support keeping the offshore oil and gas moratorium on BC’s coast in place.

A growing alliance of conservation and energy groups are asking that all Federal parties clarify their positions and state clearly whether they would maintain the offshore oil and gas moratorium as it applies to exploration, drilling and all tanker traffic.

The Mustel poll also showed that over 8 in 10 (86%) BC residents say that when it comes to energy policy, Canada’s top priority should be alternatives like solar and wind power (57%), and energy efficient technologies that conserve power (30%) rather than new sources of oil (8%).

“It is clear that British Columbians do not want oil tankers or offshore drilling rigs in our coastal waters,” says Will Horter of Dogwood Initiative. “The people of British Columbia are calling for a clean, green energy future; what isn’t clear is whether our federal politicians are listening.”

See Backgrounder.

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