Are We Prepared to Handle Large Oil Spills?

Are We Prepared to Handle Large Oil Spills?

Canada’s federal government isn’t prepared to deal with large oil spills from the massive supertankers that may soon be hitting BC’s coast.

Here’s a news story that has environmental groups and concerned citizens further questioning our government’s environmental consideration: with ongoing proposals to expand Alberta oilsands exports via BC ports using supertankers, news sources are reporting that Canada’s federal government isn’t prepared to deal with large oil spills from these massive supertankers.

In 2010 there were 600 tanker trips from BC—that number is expected to increase to 2,400 with new proposals. Plus, these tankers will be much larger than those currently off Canada’s West Coast, capable of carrying up to 300,000 tonnes of oil. Here’s the problem: our government only has management plans, training, and equipment for oil spills of up to 10,000 tonnes. Hmm…

The discussion comes from a new federal report from Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan. The report advises the federal Canadian government reevaluates risks before moving forward. And although individual companies have stated that they would exceed safety and emergency preparedness standards, critics have argued that it shouldn’t be a voluntary self-regulating system, but a legislated system with very high safety standards.

With the terms “worst fears” and “Russian roulette” tossed around by environmental groups and the NDP, respectively, it’s no wonder why Canadians are concerned. The impact of an oil spill is enormous, affecting not only the environment and wildlife, but also the economy, tourism, and the fishing industry.


Raise your voice and speak out by contacting your MPs and stating your concerns and wishes.


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