By Roy L Hales
The province of British Columbia was not able to respond in time to be part of Monday’s broadcast, “Bitumen Sinks & Is Almost Impossible to Clean Up.” However a Ministry of Environment spokesperson emailed and BC says it cannot support Kinder Morgan Pipeline at this time.
Q 1/ re spill response: diluted bitumen sinks, does anyone know how to clean it up?
B.C.’s Ministry of the Environment: Diluted bitumen can sink under certain conditions. There are limited strategies available to recover submerged oil, which are typically time consuming and costly to implement. We are aware of industry initiatives and federal government initiatives to research the fates and effects of submerged oil, as well as options for recovering it.
Q 2/ re the province’s idea of making polluter’s pay in the case of oil spill – Would this be difficult in the case of tankers from foreign nations?
Ministry of the Environment: Tanker liability is governed by the federal government. Tankers are required to carry insurance before operation in Canadian waters. Canada is also party to the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds, which provide additional coverage once the tanker company’s insurance runs out. Finally, Canada has a Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund under the Marine Liability Act, which can be activated in necessary and the other sources of funding are exhausted. The combined total coverage of all these instruments is approximately $1.3 billion.
The province is actively monitoring developments in these areas to ensure world leading practices are being adopted by the federal government and the companies involved in producing and transporting oil through British Columbia’s ports.
Q 3/ Is BC softening on its stand on the 5 conditions?
Ministry of the Environment: British Columbia’s position remains the same: we can’t support the project at this time – the evidence submitted by Trans Mountain, to the National Energy Board, did not provide us with enough confidence that spill prevention and response measures were addressed.
We support the movement of oil to new markets, but only if it can be done so without causing undue risk to the environment. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Trans Mountain project against our five conditions.
Trans Mountain has submitted its final argument to the National Energy Board. This ends the open review process.
The National Energy Board is review all evidence and arguments made before making a recommendation to the federal government.
The Government of Canada is not expected to make a decision until December 2016.
We are conducting our own in-depth review of Trans Mountain’s latest submission.
And if not, what is BC going to do if the Federal government decides to approve this project even though our conditions are not met?
Condition one is federal approval, however the other four conditions must still be met.
- The ECOreport podcast “Bitument Sinks & Is Almost Impossible To Clean Up” – interviews with, in order of appearance, Cheryl Oates ( Office of the Premier of Alberta), Larissa Stendie (Sierra Club BC), Nathan Cullen (NDP critic for the Environment and Climate Change) Peter McCartney (Wilderness Committee)
- BCNews (Government): BC Seeks Comments On spill Preparedness & Response
- BC Government Reaffirms All Five Conditions Must Be Met Before Support For Northern Gateway Pipeline Will Be Considered (2013)
- UBC News – Single Spill Could Wipe Out Economic Gains From Northern Gateway
- Levelton – Air Quality Impacts from Simulated Oil Spills in Burrard Inlet & English Bay in Vancouver
- Alberta Government: Premier Rachel Notley’s Address to Albertans
- Business News Network: Record exports inspire hope for rebound in Canadian economy
- Bureau of Labour Statistics for US Employment
- Statistics Canada: Labour Force Survey, March 2016
- New York Times: Oil Prices: What’s Behind
the Drop? Simple Economics
- The ECOreport tab for Trans Mountain Pipeline Hearings
Photo Credit: Oil Tankers by Joyce cory via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)