Pipeline risks need a closer look

Neither funding nor expertise are in place to deal with an oil spill along the British Columbia coast

BY CHRIS GENOVALI AND MISTY MACDUFFEE, VANCOUVER SUN

The B.C. government has announced five requirements that must be met before it approves any new heavy-oil pipeline, such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. The province’s primary concern is about getting a bigger piece of the oil royalty pie, which the Alberta government has immediately rejected out of hand.

Economist Robyn Allan, former CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), sums it up this way. “It is impossible to compensate for all environmental damage when it occurs because so much is left out of financial estimates of what constitutes cleanup and compensation. What the premier seems to be suggesting is the introduction of some groundbreaking revenue sharing to ensure that after we are harmed, at least some of the hurt will be paid for. That’s like saying you can beat me as long as you promise to pay the hospital bills.”

Another one of the B.C. government’s dead-on-arrival requirements calls for “world-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline.” This is not even remotely close to being in place, and likely could never be met given both the current realities of oil spill cleanup technology and the policies of the federal government.

To read the full article please visit the Vancouver Sun website.

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