B.C. Isn’t Prepared For A Bitumen Spill

For some time now, the Kinder Morgan pipeline has delivered diluted bitumen (dilbit) to Burnaby. From there, it is loaded onto oil tankers and sent east through the Salish Sea.

The B.C. government commissioned three reports from Nuka Research studying oil spill response capabilities in the province. The reports outline the significant clean up challenges faced by the industry, as well as the provincial and federal governments, should there be a spill.

Premier Christy Clark set out five conditions for pipeline development in British Columbia. The Premier has been firm on these conditions and has repeated many times that pipeline projects will not be allowed in British Columbia if her conditions are not met.

One of her conditions states that the province must have “world-leading marine oil-spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy-oil pipelines and shipments.”

British Columbia does not support the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. Premier Clark is on the record several times stating her deep concern about the inability to clean up dilbit if a spill occurs. Currently, there is one tanker per week on the south coast — and with Kinder Morgan’s plan to expand their pipeline, it would increase tanker traffic to one per day.

With all the concern expressed by the Premier, why is Kinder Morgan dilbit currently being transported through the Salish Sea? Why hasn’t the provincial government stepped in to stop it? Or, at the very least, why haven’t they worked with the federal government to ensure there is a “world-leading” marine response capability on the west coast?

It is time the provincial and federal government acted responsibly and stopped the transport of dilbit along the British Columbia coast.

(Photo - Flickr: Mark Klotz)

Adam Olsen

Stellys Cross Road, Brentwood Bay, BC, V8M 1J7