COLLEEN FLANAGAN/PROGRESS FILE

Spill response a growing concern for Sto:lo leader from Chilliwack

Bungled cleanup on the Fraser River in Mission makes claims of world class response sound hollow

The inadequate oil spill response system is a growing concern that puts the entire B.C. coast at risk, according to a Sto:lo leader from Chilliwack.

The bungled cleanup of a fuel spill on the Fraser River in Mission back in March is casting some doubt now on any claims of a “world-class” response on the part of provincial officials.

“If the recent spill from a sunken vessel near Mission is any indication, clearly we do not have a world class spill response system,” said Ken Malloway, co-chair of the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance, and Grand Chief of Sto:lo Tribal Council.

The Fisheries Alliance supports 22 First Nations from Tsawwassen to Yale, including several Chilliwack-area Sto:lo communities.

It was an old fishing boat that ended up submerged in the Fraser River in March. In the weeks that followed, public concern escalated as efforts were hampered by an apparent inability to quantify the spill, as officials said it was unknown how much fuel was contained in the vessel.

It was also unclear which government agency was responsible, and what the responsibilities of the vessel owner were. Poor communications were also a factor.

“In light of this, the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline seems premature and ill-advised,” he said.

The B.C. government cleared the project in part because of the condition for the “world class spill response” had been met, but in reality it is not there yet, he said.

First Nations have long-term interests in sustainable development that values ecosystem protection, and need to be involved waterway decision-making, monitoring and risk management, including spill response, said Malloway.

“The free, prior and informed consent 0f First Nations must be sought while developing a spill response regime,” since it affects the protection of lands and waters.

It is now left to the NDP to deal with the increased risks that southern B.C. faces due to the clearance of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, without an adequate system in place, he argued. Construction of the pipeline twinning is scheduled to start in September.


 

@chwkjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Six Sto:lo chiefs sign MOU agreement affirming Indigenous rights

Moving to next phase of nation-to-nation negotiation in preparation for final treaty

Chilliwack Chiefs sit atop BCHL standings

No one expected the young Chiefs to be this good this fast, but can it last?

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

On Oct. 19, gospel musician, Rob Berg, hosts first concert in Chilliwack in 25 years

Held at the Sardis Community Church, the concert celebrates his career and new album release

Outgoing Chilliwack board chair says anti-SOGI trustees won’t be allowed in schools

Candidates’ anti-LGBTQ rhetoric makes for awkward situations with students, teachers, administrators

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

B.C. man who abducted and assaulted 11-year-old girl has parole rules tightened

Brian Abrosimo made ‘inappropriate and sexualized’ comments to female staff

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

Most Read