Letter: Feds 'emasculated' Transport Canada, NEB when it came to ocean spills

Editor:

Re: Trudeau paid the "sticker price" for the pipeline, NOW Opinion, Feb. 7

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As indicated in your editorial, the Federal Court of Appeal, in quashing the approval of the pipeline for the transport of diluted bitumen, stated in part that the National Energy Board failed to examine how the project would affect the marine environment. 
As a former senior industrial hygienist involved with enforcing industrial health and safety regulations in B.C., I find it greatly disturbing that Transport Canada also failed to enforce marine oil pollution regulations requiring the provision of effective emergency plans for the control and disposal of this oil pollutant in the event of an ocean spill. 
Given that effective spill response measures are not technically feasible when dealing with diluted bitumen and the sediments in our turbulent waters, I believe that the roles of both Transport Canada and the NEB were essentially emasculated because Ottawa had already planned on approving the pipeline.

I also believe that the prime reason the NEB did not examine the effect of the project on the marine environment was to avoid dealing with the issue of a potential oil spill and oil spill response measures.
If the federal government were to succeed in pushing through this pipeline, it would set the stage for massive lawsuits when an ocean spill eventually occurs and it becomes obvious to everyone that emergency spill response measures are indeed inadequate. I believe British Columbians will maintain a firm and resolute stand that they simply do not and will not tolerate having their coastal marine environment placed in such great jeopardy.

John Sbragia, Burnaby

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