Carr says pipeline expansion will add just one more tanker a day off B.C. coast

OTTAWA _ Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says the Trans Mountain pipeline will only increase tanker traffic off the coast of British Columbia by one ship a day, downplaying the risks raised by environmental critics of the project.

Speaking following the weekly Liberal caucus meeting today, Carr said he has a lot of confidence that the pipeline expansion his government backs is good for the economy and the future of Canada.

He says critics who say it will mean a 700 per cent increase in tanker traffic off the coast out of Burnaby, B.C., have their math right, but this makes the increase look bigger than it really it is.

Carr says it actually means 35 ships a month instead of five, or about one additional tanker a day out of the Westridge Marine Terminal, with strict marine standards to guard against accidents.

Critics, however, point to the difficult and often narrow passages the huge tankers have to traverse to get from the terminal to the open ocean and say a spill would be enormous.

The British Columbia government’s main concern is a lack of information about how diluted bitumen from the pipeline expansion actually behaves if it spills in a marine environment and how, or if, it can be cleaned up.