Salish Sea: Oil, Coal and LNG tanker traffic to increase

This is a critical time in BC history for the Salish Sea. Why? Because the proposed  increase in coal, oil, and LNG exports to Asia will drive up tanker traffic resulting in major changes to our environment.

The map below shows how the Salish Sea will become a Resource Export Super Highway:
Oil –  tarsands oil from Alberta to Burnaby (pipeline)
Coal – coal from Montana and Wyoming to Surrey & Texada Island (rail/shipping)
LNG – liquified Natural Gas from northern BC to Squamish & Campbell River (pipeline/shipping)

SalishSea Salish Sea: Oil, Coal and LNG tanker traffic to increase
SalishSea – super highway

Oil export expansion:
The plan is to bring tarsands oil by Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby. The volume of oil would increase from the current 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. This increase would require at least 400 additional tankers to handle the volume.

Each tanker traveling through the Salish Sea guarantees a ‘carbon spill’ of 375,000 tonnes of climate-changing emissions when the oil is burned and released into the atmosphere.

Coal export expansion:
Plans are underway to dramatically increase coal shipments from ports in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The coal is strip-mined from the United States’ Powder River Basin area, located in southeast Montana and northeast Wyoming. The coal would be shipped out to Asia and burned for power generation.

The following are ports that are to be expanded or built to handle increase in coal exports to Asia:

  • Fraser Surrey Docks, Metro Vancouver
  • Neptune facilities, North Vancouver
  • Westshore Terminal, Delta
  • Lafarge coal storage, Texada Island
  • Gateway Pacific Terminal, Cherry Point Washington
  • Millenium Bulk Logistics Terminal, Longview, Washington
  • Gray’s Harbor, Washington
  • St. Helens, Oregon
  • Coos Bay, Oregon

Metro Vancouver would become the biggest coal exporter in North America. The Salish Sea would be a super busy highway of  coal, oil, and LNG tankers plus other general cargo tanker traffic.

LNG – Liquified Natural Gas export expansion:
Two new LNG export terminals proposed are:

When the Woodfibre LNG facility is up and running there will be an estimated 40 tankers travelling through Howe Sound annually.  Who knows how many tankers would be going to and from Campbell River.

In May, 2014, the Tsleil Waututh First Nation launched a legal challenge of the National Energy Board’s (NEB) review of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project.

Each tanker brings the risk of an oil spill that would effectively kill the marine environment, the coastal fisheries and BC tourism for the next generations. People are learning from Alaska that once the oil is in the beaches it’s not coming out. Over 6,000 people died as a result of the Exxon Valdez spill. Who is going to track the economic fallout here in BC when it happens?  We are in an earthquake zone. A disaster is just a matter of time.

Email Christy Clark our BC premier and tell her what you think,