PRINCE RUPERT, BC--(Marketwired - November 29, 2016) - After a decade-long grassroots campaign, Friends of Wild Salmon is today celebrating news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has officially rejected Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline.
But they say their fight won't end until the Prime Minister also follows through on his promise of a crude oil tanker ban for B.C.'s North Coast, which he reiterated today.
"Today we celebrate the thousands of citizens from all walks of life who, in the face of Canada's powerful oil lobby, stood up for our salmon, our rivers and our local economies and never backed down," said Friends of Wild Salmon spokesperson Des Nobels. "We have a strong shared vision for the future of our region, and it doesn't include dirty oil pipelines or tankers."
The pipeline, which would have carried diluted bitumen from Alberta's oil sands to a tanker port in Kitimat, was widely opposed by communities and First Nations throughout Northwest B.C.
"By ignoring community concerns and employing divide-and-conquer tactics, Enbridge gave a clear demonstration of how not to do business in our region," said Nobels. "We need strong protections to ensure that never happens again, and we need strong leadership to help us deliver an economy that truly serves our communities."
Nobels acknowledged the many leaders who spoke out against the project.
"First Nations leaders throughout the region were remarkable in their solidarity and steadfastness. Municipal Councils and Regional Districts took principled positions in opposition to the project. And many, many ordinary citizens who love this place found their voices and spoke up. Today, we celebrate them all," said Nobels.
In the 2015 federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised a tanker ban would be implemented to protect the North Coast from the risk of oil spills. Today, the Prime Minister announced a legislated moratorium would be forthcoming early in 2017.
"We want the security of knowing we won't face this kind of project again," said Nobels. "A legislated, long-term crude oil tanker ban covering both oil ports and the passage of tankers will provide that assurance, and we look forward to the Prime Minister finally delivering on his promise."
Friends of Wild Salmon is a coalition of First Nations, commercial fishermen, sport anglers and conservation advocates who work together to protect the wild salmon economy of the Skeena River watershed and B.C.'s North Coast.