Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's move to "formalize" a moratorium on crude oil tankers off B.C.'s North Coast is eliciting warnings from oil executives and B.C. mayors.

Word of Trudeau's directive is a harsh blow to an industry still reeling after the Keystone XL pipeline rejection.

"I think this is the final blow to Enbridge Northern Gateway BC Carrier," said Sekanni Tribal Chief Terry Teegee, who has been at the forefront of the fight against the pipeline. 

"I think it's a significant blow to this project. I think it's the end of this project," Teegee added.

The move reinforces promises Trudeau made during the Liberal campaign.

Unofficial ban exists

"If I win the honor of serving as prime minister the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline will not happen, " Trudeau said before his election. "Many British Columbians make a living off this pristine coastal waters, this is not the place for a pipeline."

The oil tanker ban has always been there — unofficially — but the project proposed to ship 225 tankers of crude oil a year through Kitimat's Douglas Channel.

"I think it's a significant blow to this project. I think it's the end of this project." -  Sekanni Tribal Chief Terry Teegee

For many Trudeau's directive, to Canada's new Transport Minister Marc Garneau, asking him to move forward with a moratorium is troubling.

With Canada's oil industry desperate to get Alberta crude to the shore for shipping, many ask whether blocking trade routes is wise.

"You have mixed emotions. Money has to come from somewhere. For the good of Canada, we have to consider jobs, monetary benefits, we have to obviously consider environmental aspects," said former Kitimat mayor Joanne Monaghan.

But she questions why a ban would only apply to Northern B.C.

"Is there a difference between crude oil being spilled down south and crude oil being spilled in the north?" 

Critics warn of the economic cost of oil tanker prohibitions

In Kitimat the prospect of jobs, must be weighed against the risks, said the mayor.

"I don't think you can ever do anything to guarantee you will never have a supertanker hitting an island or something like that. Disasters happen," said Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth.

Ivan Giesbrecht of Enbridge Northern Gateway said he is confident that Canada will first consider the potential economic impact of a tanker ban on Western Canada.