Back in 1972, when the moratorium on oil tankers was put in place, the shipments from the Port of Vancouver were grandfathered. Initially, the tanker traffic was not significant, but a recent National Energy Board decision has allowed a five-fold increase in tanker traffic. What’s more, the NEB has ruled that the bitumen crude from the Kinder-Morgan pipeline be offered to the highest bidder.
The last refinery left on the Lower Mainland, Chevron in Burnaby, has been losing out on access to supply. The result is that the Chevron Refinery has announced it is reducing production from 60,000 barrels of oil per day to 20,000 barrels per day. Industry watchers fear the refinery will close altogether, because we are allowing tankers to take the crude off-shore in preference to refining it in B.C. Additionally, we do this at the risk of our coastal eco-systems (because bitumen and condensate is more hazardous than crude oil) of charting these supertankers out through Burrard Inlet and the second narrows, past Stanley Park and the Gulf Islands.