British Columbia Studying Oil Spills

Monday March 4, 2013

As Canada works to export more oil, the province of British Columbia (BC) says it has hired a U.S. company to review the current system for preventing and responding to marine oil spills and identify ways to improve it.

The Ministry of Environment has contracted with Nuka Research and Planning Group of Alaska to study vessel traffic based on current and potential levels of oil shipping from Canada's west coast, assess spill prevention and response plans, and identify international best practices.

While Canada's federal government is primarily responsible for addressing marine spills, the BC Ministry of Environment said it is committed to being involved in preparedness efforts.

"We are taking an important first step in the creation of a world-leading marine spill plan for BC while respecting federal authority over marine-based protection and response, said Terry Lake, BC's minister of environment.

"Ultimately, a spill response plan for the BC coast is a shared responsibility and we will continue to press the federal government for a stronger role in the work they are undertaking on a world-leading marine-based spill response model so we can ensure the interests of British Columbians are being met."

The Canadian federal government announced recently that it had commissioned its own study to evaluate the likelihood and risks of oil or chemical spills.