New report adds billions to cost of oil spill off BC’s south coast

Report identifies the need for cumulative effects assessments that consider the whole Salish Sea region

Salish sea cover

By Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun January 20, 2016

Environmental and risk assessments for projects that would increase tanker traffic in southwestern B.C. fail to consider billions of dollars in potential social, economic and environmental impacts, according to a new report on the region by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

The environmental assessments required by senior governments are much too narrow and fail to consider the broader impacts of marine traffic on the ecological health of the region, which includes the Strait of Georgia, Juan de Fuca Strait and Puget Sound, argue the authors of the 108-page report Our Threatened Coast. The Salish Sea’s 7,000 kilometres of intricate coastline support ecosystem services from tourism and recreation to flood protection, climate regulation and fish habitat worth tens of billions of dollars, according to studies cited by the authors.

“A fuller, honest assessment would make most people wonder whether a hydrocarbon export economy makes sense for the region,” said lead author Misty MacDuffee. “Even the federal government acknowledges that southern Vancouver Island is Canada’s highest-risk traffic area, and that’s under past levels of shipping.”

Kinder Morgan Canada is seeking National Energy Board approval to increase the capacity of its Trans Mountain Pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day from 300,000. The expansion could increase the number of tanker trips through the region from about 70 per year to more than 400…

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