GRENVILLE CHANNEL OIL A DECADES-OLD DISGRACE, CULLEN SAYS IN QUESTION PERIOD
May 3rd, 2012 - 3:28pm
PRINCE RUPERT - The oily slick spotted inside Grenville Channel Tuesday night is just the latest example of the Conservatives’ total disregard for environmental responsibility, MP Nathan Cullen charged in Question Period today.
“Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives promised the people of Hartley Bay two years ago to clean up this mess,” Cullen told Environment Minister Peter Kent. “They are not just failing to protect coastal communities, they are putting them at further risk, all the while cheerleading for raw export of pipelines and supertanker projects.
“Why is the government putting the health and life of coastal communities at risk all in favour of their friends in the oil patch?”
Cullen challenged Kent to explain recent government decisions that threaten the BC coastline and communities, including closure of B.C.s only oil spill response centre, gutting of environmental laws for pipelines and fast-tracking review processes, and destroying fish habitat protections.
Kent denied any negative impacts in his response.
The Gitga'at Nation of Hartley Bay announced Tuesday that a commercial pilot has reported a fuel slick about 60 metres wide and between 3.2 and eight kilometres long in Grenville Channel, south of Prince Rupert. The discharge is believed to be upwelling from US army transport vessel Brigadier General M.G. Zalinski, which sank in 1946 with munitions and about 700 tonnes of fuel on board.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans estimates the leak is "very small," a bit less than half a cup. However a local witness reports that there is no chance only a cup was spilled. Investigators and representatives from both parties are at the scene and Cullen is staying in close contact with authorities.
The site is in the middle of the nation's territory and almost directly across from important traditional shellfish harvesting areas. Gitga'at depend on the ocean from 40% of their diet.
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