Stone, Heyman spar in question period over oil transport by rail

By James Peters
November 5, 2018 - 3:37pm

VICTORIA — Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone and Environment Minister George Heyman sparred in the BC Legislature today on the issue of the transportation of diluted bitumen by rail.

During question period Stone directed his questions toward Transportation Minister Claire Trevena, asking why the government was seemingly condoning increased oil transport by rail, which he says is "much more risky" than by pipeline.

Stone said more than 229,000 barrels of oil are shipped by rail in Canada every day, up from about 93,000 barrels in July of 2017.

"Can [Trevena] explain to the people of Kamloops how they're supposed to feel safe when there is an ever-increasing volume of oil being shipped via rail as opposed to being shipped via the much safer pipeline?" Stone asked.

The former transportation minister pressed the government on its opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, saying CN Rail is predicting the delay in construction of the expansion "has added years to crude by rail."

Heyman intercepted the questions, saying the government has asked for rail companies to report volumes and routes of diluted bitumen transportation.

"We introduced new regulations governing oil by rail as well as by pipeline to increase spill preparedness and response, including requirements for contingency plans, drills, exercises and plans for recovery," said Heyman.

"We're protecting the interests of British Columbia in protecting our environment, our coast and our economy in all the ways [the BC Liberals] refused to do when they were in government," said Heyman.

Snow could fall as soon as Friday in Kamloops