Greens deeply concerned about the growing English Bay Spill

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich – Gulf Islands, along with several West Coast candidates, questioned why Vancouver residents were not alerted sooner to the growing spill of an unknown and likely toxic substance in English Bay near Vancouver yesterday.

“This spill demonstrates that we are not prepared for an oil spill. Kinder Morgan is already moving dilbit on Aframax tankers through the sea,” said Ms. May. “The response time from a private sector spill company suggests our marine environment is at risk.”

“The spill was first detected at 5 p.m. yesterday, yet we didn’t hear about it until today,” added Lynne Quarmby, Green Party Critic for Science Policy and candidate for Burnaby North – Seymour. “It was irresponsible of the Port Authority to wait until people on the shore can smell fuel and see the water streaked with oil before warning us of the health hazard. The public should have been notified immediately because we deserve to know when an oil spill is poisoning the sea.”

“Today’s spill in English Bay underlines the inherent danger in commercial shipping and the inadequacy of spill response policies,” said Frances Litman, Transport Critic for the Green Party of Canada and candidate for Esquimalt – Saanich – Sooke. “Accidents like this one impact people and their livelihoods, as well as fragile ecosystems that take decades to recover. Toursim, fishing, and simple enjoyment of coastal areas are vital to British Columbians. That’s why we can’t allow additional tanker traffic in coastal areas, and must place the health of our communities and environment first and foremost.”

Lynne Quarmby concluded, “Let’s hope that this is a wake up call. However bad this might be, a bitumen spill would be worse, much worse.”