- Move was part of Prime Minister Trudeau's campaign pledges
- Informal ban had already been in place for several years
Canada plans to formally ban oil tanker traffic on the northern coast of British Columbia, adding another hurdle to Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has instructed Marc Garneau, the minister of transport responsible for the Coast Guard, to implement the ban which has informally been in place for years and was part of the leader’s campaign platform, according to the prime minister’s office.
The ban will add to hurdles Enbridge has faced since proposing the pipeline to move Alberta crude to the port of Kitimat, at the end of the Douglas Channel, and onto Asia to open new markets for Canadian oil. The project has been met with intense resistance from local communities over concerns including potential spills that could harm fisheries and threaten their livelihood.
The company won conditional approval under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, so long as it met hundreds of criteria set out by the national energy regulator.
The 1,177-kilometer (731-mile) conduit would start in the eastern Alberta plains at Bruderheim, about 35 miles northeast of Edmonton, and cross the Rocky and Coast mountain ranges to the Pacific port of Kitimat, British Columbia, carrying as much as 525,000 barrels a day of diluted bitumen. From there, the fuel would be loaded onto tankers and shipped through the Douglas Channel, a passage that narrows to less than a kilometer.