The saga of the jet fuel delivery and pipeline proposal will rumble on for another month after the B.C. government extended the decision deadline.
Environment Minister Terry Lake was due to decide last week on whether or not to issue an environmental certificate for an airline consortium’s plan to barge jet fuel up the Fraser River, store it in giant tank farms and then pipe it through Richmond to YVR.
But Lake’s office, instead, issued an extension order, giving a new deadline date of Feb. 25 to determine the fate of the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation plan.
The government’s Environmental Assessment Office issued a statement to all parties concerned on Monday saying “the ministers felt that they needed more time to assess the information they have available to them before they make the decision about whether or not to issue an environmental assessment certificate.”
Grass roots campaigners VAPOR, who’ve protested vehemenently against the plan from the outset, said they were neither encouraged nor discouraged by the extension.
Even though the delay could mean the minister genuinely needs more time to consider, VAPOR is skeptical that it may just be a chance for the proponents to bolster their case.
“VAPOR is neither disappointed nor encouraged by this further delay in that we have steadfastly maintained that this review, which is to have been done in harmony with Port Metro Vancouver (an agency that will benefit from any approval), is a less than proper federal/provincial joint review process and above all has greatly tried to ignore the concerns and interests of local governments and especially that of the public,” read VAPOR’s statement.
“However, VAPOR does again note that any delay at this time can only be seen as an opportunity for the ministers reviewing the final decision to take a precautionary approach to such an irresponsible project as proposed by VAFFC.”
At the beginning of the year, Richmond city council reaffirmed its opposition of the plan — which has been under review since 2009 — and demanded a meeting with ministers Lake and Rich Coleman, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas.
Despite being one of the agencies on the environmental review’s “working group,” city council has been frustrated at having little or no say in the project’s approval, as it doesn’t have jurisdiction on the matter.
This was compounded late last year when it became apparent that, assuming the plan was approved, most of the city’s recommendations to mitigate potential dangers were largely ignored in the environmental review handed to ministers.