CANADA
12/12/2013 20:18 EST | Updated 02/11/2014 05:59 EST

YVR jet fuel plan given environmental approval

The B.C. government has granted conditional environmental approval to a controversial proposal that includes a pipeline through Richmond, tankers and a marine terminal. 

B.C. Minister of Environment Mary Polak announced today the approval hinges on 64 conditions and said the government is taking into account the public's environmental concerns.

"We've heard, for instance, concerns around spills in the Fraser River. Under the conditions attached to our approval the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation must pre-screen all vessels, they must also have at least two escort tugs for each tanker and one tug for each cargo barge and all vessels must be under the control of a qualified Fraser River pilot," said Polak.

The City of Richmond has strongly opposed the proposed project, which would see barges and tankers carrying jet fuel 15 kilometres up the river to the terminal, then link up with an on-land pipeline to YVR airport.

"These are tankers that are 950 feet in length — that's like three football fields long," said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

"They're going to be loaded with jet fuel. They're going to be regularly coming up the river, introducing an unnecessary risk to the people and to the city of Richmond," he said.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said she is disappointed. Delta staff will be looking at the proposal to determine whether the conditions for approval do in fact meet public concerns, she said.

In the end, cities have to live with what senior governments decide, she said.