B.C. offshore drilling no longer a priority
The federal and provincial governments both say they have no plans for offshore oil and gas exploration on B.C.'s coast any time soon.
B.C. Energy Minister Rich Coleman said the issue did not come up in recent industry meetings.
"I met with industry in Calgary … and I went through about 14 meetings … with companies and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. The offshore [issue] never came up."
Coleman said industry leaders seem to have moved on from the idea.
"It really hasn't been a topic of discussion around here for a long time even in the committees I've sat on," he said.
"I think it's just been sat on that moratorium a long time and people have looked at other places to drill and to invest in. The biggest investment right now is in the Horn River and the Montney [area] and those areas up in northern B.C."
For several years, the provincial Liberal government has sought to lift an informal federal moratorium on drilling off the B.C. coast, where former energy minister Richard Neufeld has said there was $100-billion worth of oil and gas.
Last year, MPs in Ottawa passed a New Democrat private member's motion calling for a ban on tankers on the West Coast. However, there is no legislation in place for a ban on oil exploration off B.C.'s coast.
Critics of offshore oil and gas exploration worried the federal Conservatives would lift he moratorium if they won a majority government.
But John Duncan, the Conservative MP for Vancouver Island North, said the government does not plan to raise the issue.
"We'll … respect the offshore oil and gas moratorium, the development moratorium."
Meanwhile, B.C. NDP energy critic John Horgan said he's encouraged by those comments.
"If it's the view of the new Conservative majority and the view of Premier [Christy] Clark's administration that we keep the moratorium on oil and gas development in place, I think that's good news for all communities. It's good news for all British Columbians."
However, Horgan said he would still like to see a commitment in print that the Harper government will not lift the offshore moratorium.