incidents in the past where it
just hasn’t worked. We’ve had two command centers set up, for instance,for various spills, and it’s just not productive.
: Let’s talk about where it is working. The BC Government says Alaska is a good example of some
world-leading oil spill standar
ds. How do our current standards in Canada compare to Alaska’s?
: Our current standards are way behind the Alaskan requirements for spill response. There, theyhave a requirement that the tanker companies have to have the capacity to deal with a 300,000 barrelspill. In Canada, the requirement is for about 80,000 barrels. Now, Enbridge has voluntarily pledged to
put in place a capacity for about 160,000 barrels, but that’s still below the Alaskan standards.
: So, only about half of the Alaskan standards, even if Enbridge was to sort of beef things up, is
what you’re saying.
: That’s right, and half the escort tugs and no salvage tug. So, we’ve got a long way to go, and, of
note, when Enbridge made their big announcement last week of 500 million dollars to improve safety,after the Kalamazoo spill, all of that goes into the pipeline- nothing is dedicated, no new resources tothe marine side of things.
: So how- if the Government were to ask, how do you meet some of the requirements that
they’re setting out. Or, try and work towards getting to an Alaskan standard? Is it
- do you put legislationin place? Do you put pressure on the companies? Do you go after the feds? How do, who do you goafter to try and get everyone to take part in
making sure that we’re safe?
: Well, I think one of the things that the Province, the provincial report does pinpoint is that you
can’t just rely on companies and
the industry to come up with voluntary standards. You have to have aregulatory system
that has mandatory requirements. And that’s where our current system is deficient.
One example: the requirement right now in the event of a spill on the coast is to clean up 500 metres of shoreline a day. Well, as the BC report points out, in the case of the Exxon Valdez spill, with all thecoastline that was affected in Alaska, it would have taken ten years to clean up all the shoreline at that
rate. So, obviously, we’ve got some work to do, and that’s just one example.
: Are you encouraged that the BC Government has made this one of their, sort of, five planks inthis platform to move ahead on the Northern Gateway?
: Well, I have mixed feelings about it, because I’m not quite sure whether they’re doing it to get
the project approved or get it, get it rejected. I think there, it might provide a false sense of security thatif you took all these measures that they propose, and then if we did have a world class spill responseregime in place on the BC coast- that we would still, that we would be pr
otected. I think we’d still be
overexposed, particularly on the North Coast, because of the remoteness, the logistical challenges, theextreme weather. All the amount of oil spill capacity in the world is not going to be able to help you if
you can’t get i
t out of the port in the middle of winter.
: And yet. Even if the Northern Gateway pipeline didn’t go ahead, we’re now getting thisinformation because we’re paying more attention. We still have a number of tankers going in and out of