New tanker safety measures: no reassurance for coastal communities

Georgia Strait Alliance responds to federal announcement on new tanker safety measures

May 13, 2014

VANCOUVER – Today the federal government announced new measures on oil spill prevention, preparedness and response, including making BC’s south coast a priority area for the development of a tailored response plan.

Commenting on the announcement, Georgia Strait Alliance’s Executive Director, Christianne Wilhelmson, said:

“Although we welcome any steps to improve navigational safety in the Salish Sea, identified by the tanker safety panel as the region most at risk for an oil spill in Canada, today’s measures will do little to reassure coastal communities.

This announcement essentially acknowledges that diluted bitumen behaves differently to conventional oil when spilled into the ocean, and that the government doesn’t know how to clean it up. It’s unacceptable that we already have diluted bitumen travelling through the Salish Sea with no plan and no effective method to remove it from the environment – and we shouldn’t even be considering a proposal like Kinder Morgan’s that would dramatically increase the risk of a spill.”

She continued, “When it comes to oil spill response, we need prevention because there is no cure. That’s why coastal communities will continue to stand up together to say ‘no’ to Kinder Morgan and ‘yes’ to clean beaches, green jobs and a sustainable energy future.”

Wilhelmson is also concerned about the government’s failure to impose unlimited liability on oil tanker companies as recommended by the original panel. According to research carried out by GSA and others, even with the new measures announced today, taxpayers could still be on the hook for over $7 billion in clean-up costs.

Georgia Strait Alliance is a BC citizen’s group working to protect and restore the marine environment and promote the sustainability of Georgia Strait, and is currently campaigning to raise awareness about the threat posed by Kinder Morgan’s plan to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline.


For more information please contact:
Christianne Wilhelmson, Executive Director
Georgia Strait Alliance
(604) 862-7579