File photo

The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, Bill C-48, has passed its third reading in the House of Commons.

If cleared by the Senate the West Coast Environmental Law Association says the bill would prohibit oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 tonnes of crude or persistent oil from stopping, loading or unloading at ports in northern British Columbia.

“Today’s passing of Bill C-48 is the result of almost half a century of hard work by First Nations, community members, environmental organizations and politicians,” said Jessica Clogg, the executive director and Senior Counsel for the West Coast Environmental Law Association in a release.

“It’s a significant win for the coast that the oil tanker moratorium has finally reached this point, and we wish it swift passage through the Senate.”

For the last five years, a first nations lead project called the Eagle Spirit Energy pipeline was being planned, that would carry up to two million barrels of medium to heavy crude oil a day from Fort McMurray to tidewater on the West Coast.

If the bill passes it may possibly render any future crude oil pipelines with terminals on the North Coast pointless.

Officials from the project say that a constitutional challenge has been launched in B.C. Supreme Court regarding the bill.


The suit says First Nations were not properly consulted on the tanker ban, resulting in it being discriminatory and infringing on the group’s Aboriginal title.

The group says they have overcome a huge challenge by securing agreements in principle with every one of the First Nations along the proposed route.

They add that if the challenge fails, the group has signed a memorandum of understanding with a landowner across the U.S. border in Hyder, Alaska.

The small town wants to host the pipeline as an alternative location for the port terminal.

With files from the CBC