LETTER: Kitimat councillor abused his position

Douglas Channel Watch responds to Kitimat councillor Mario Feldhoff and his comments from the January 6 council meeting.

An Open Letter:

Dear Mayor and Council,

During the January 6 council meeting, Councillor Mario Feldhoff said that a liquid petroleum refinery in the Kitimat Valley would make Enbridge’s Northern Gateway proposal safer, because supertankers would be carrying refined product instead of diluted bitumen.

Councilor Feldhoff stated, “To be clear, I also support Mr. Black’s proposal to build a refinery halfway between Kitimat and Terrace. His project doesn’t eliminate the risk associated with the proposed Northern Gateway project; rather substantially reduces shipping risks…”

Douglas Channel Watch is very disappointed with Councilor Feldhoff for not honouring the District of Kitimat’s position of neutrality, which he violated by stating he supports the Enbridge proposal and Mr. Black’s Kitimat Valley refinery idea. To make such a statement during the same meeting where Mayor and Council were to discuss an upcoming plebiscite, where the people of Kitimat would be given an opportunity to vote on the Northern Gateway proposal was an abuse of his position. No councillors should be campaigning for Enbridge before the plebiscite, and the Mayor should have reminded them of that fact.

Mr. Black did approach Enbridge in hopes of securing diluted bitumen from the Northern Gateway pipeline for a refinery. Enbridge contacted the ten companies who are funding the Northern Gateway proposal, and were told by those companies that Northern Gateway is to be a diluted bitumen export pipeline only. Mr Black’s idea, if it ever does attract investors, would still see diluted bitumen pipelines crossing the Fraser and Skeena River watersheds, crossing the North Coast Mountains, and would be subjected to the substantial geologic and weather related hazards in the Hoult Creek and Upper Kitimat River valleys.

We are hopeful, considering how Councilor Feldhoff recognizes the devastating effects a diluted bitumen supertanker spill would have on the north coast BC marine environment, that he will oppose the Northern Gateway diluted bitumen export pipeline proposal based on those grounds, or groundings, as it were.

Sincerely,

Douglas Channel Watch (Submitted by Murray Minchin)

Kitimat, B.C.