Huntington joins opposition to South Bend fuelling proposal
DELTA, B.C. – Vancouver Airport’s proposal for a fuel terminal on the South Bend of the Fraser River is “far too risky,” says Vicki Huntington, Independent MLA for Delta South.
“We need to look at all the options,” says Huntington. “Navigating fuel tankers and barges up the Fraser delta might make sense to some financially, but in this case the cheapest option is not the best.”
The proposed project would focus the shipment of aviation fuel on the Fraser’s south arm – then deliver the fuel to the Vancouver Airport via a controversial 15-kilometer long pipeline under and across Richmond. The City of Richmond has been vocal in its opposition to the proposed project.
In a submission to the BC Environmental Assessment office, the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation noted that they initially considered the South Arm proposal alongside other feasible options—including the transport of aviation fuel by train from Alberta.
Huntington finds that the Corporation’s project assessment failed to give local environmental and social factors sufficient consideration, instead focusing on reaching global energy suppliers by sea route. “It is not time to begin navigating fuel on such a large scale through the environmentally-fragile Fraser River delta – especially when other, feasible and lower-risk fuel delivery alternatives are available,” says Huntington.
Noting that the Fraser River delta ecosystem is crucial to the fishery and BC economy, Huntington adds that there are “no assurances” adequate measures would be taken to prepare for an accident or natural disaster. “We need to set limits to risk, and the responsibility of biodiversity conservation here should be of key consideration,” she says.
The project proposal has committed to adopting the latest technology and practices, but Huntington says high standards may not be enough to reach the public’s demand for safety and stewardship. “Industry best practices, while commendable, can only mitigate from the high base level of risk inherent with this proposal,” says Huntington.
“Transporting fuel by tanker or barge is higher risk, and in the Fraser delta, we have a lot to lose.”
The Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Proposal is currently undergoing an environmental assessment, and Huntington encourages interested members of the public to submit their comments. Comments are being accepted until April 26 at www.eao.gov.bc.ca.