Key Issues

Pipelines and Tankers

Oil pipelines and tankers can have negative impacts to fish and fish habitat. During the construction of pipelines fresh water steams and rivers can be impacted by heavy machinery causing bank erosion, sedimentation, and destruction of important riparian areas which provide food and shelter for fish. Once built, pipelines are prone to corrosion and leaks causing spillage of oil or other petrochemicals that cause harm or death to fish, fish habitat and fish food sources.

Where oil moves oil spills. The threat of introducing oil supertankers to Northern B.C. waters is very real with recent proposed projects for the north coast such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. These proposals seek to export Canada's oil resources from the Alberta tar sands to primarily Asian markets. This would mean introducing the largest shipping vessels known as VLCCs or Very Large Crude Carriers into parts of B.C. that currently does not see any oil tanker traffic whatsoever. If one was to stand a vessel of this size on end it would stand taller than the Empire State building.

We know from the Exxon Valdez  tanker oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska in 1989 that oil spilled into the marine environment has devasting consequences. Twenty-three years later, oil still can be found in the beaches of Prince William Sound. The Herring fishery collapsed a year after the oil spill and has yet to recover. Cleaning up of 10-15% of oil spilled in the marine environment is considered successful. Current technologies for oil spill clean up have improved little or remain unchanged since the 1989 disaster.

Visit PipeUpAgainstEnbridge.ca to learn more about the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, OIl pipelines and oil tankers.