Kitimat councillors seek discussion with MPs on oil refinery and pipeline plans

Kitimat council wants to see MP Bob Zimmer and Nathan Cullen to talk about oil refineries and pipelines.

Kitimat Council is calling for a meeting with a Conservative MP from the Prince George area, as well as the local MP Nathan Cullen, to talk about the proposed oil refinery by David Black, and about the Northern Gateway Pipelines proposal.

The motion from Mario Feldhoff asks Council to contact Bob Zimmer, who represents the Prince George-Peace River riding, and is the Chair of the B.C./Yukon caucus, as well as Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP representative Nathan Cullen, to discuss Kitimat’s support of the proposed refinery, and council’s opposition to the Northern Gateway diluted bitumen pipeline proposal.

“I think he [Cullen] should be more supportive of the Kitimat Clean value-added refinery and associated benefits. Among them the 3,000 direct jobs to his riding. We need to impress upon him the benefits associated with the Kitimat Clean refinery proposal,” said Feldhoff.

Feldhoff noted that Cullen has been vocal about the Joint Review Panel for the Northern Gateway project but has been very quiet about the refinery.

Meanwhile Cullen just days before council’s meeting, met with David Black in Ottawa to discuss his proposal.

Cullen acknowledges the potential for jobs in the proposal — said to be up to 3,000 direct jobs tied to the proposal — but he remains mindful of the challenges Black still has to face to achieve his goals.

“I’ve said to [Black] privately what I’ve said publicly which is it’s very good to have a conversation about value-added when it comes to what’s happening with Canadian oil and bitumen out of the oil sands,” said Cullen. “At present it remains a project in theory as opposed to one that has shovels in the ground or even at the stage of application.”

Cullen also said the issue of a pipeline in to B.C. is one that he continues to have concerns for.

“It’s a similar proposal to Kinder Morgan or Enbridge up until the point of when it gets near the coast, then it changes with the idea of a refinery and upgrader. That concerned me before and it concerns me now, how would you keep all those 1,100 rivers and streams safe from a blow-out?”

Cullen does say he respect’s Black’s “passion and willingness to raise the conversation,” and said he’d welcome a meeting with Kitimat Council to talk about this.

“I think he knows he has some work, certainly, to do before we get to the place of whether this is real or not and government has to take a look at it.”