Oil tanker approaches Westridge Terminal in Burnaby, where TransMountain pipeline has delivered crude oil and refined fuels since the 1950s. (Kinder Morgan Canada)

B.C. government asks residents for feedback on oil spill prevention plans

Environment Minister believes British Columbians have a “personal connection” with the environment

British Columbia’s government says it is moving to the next steps in defending provincial land and water from oil spills by getting public feedback on potential policies, even as one of its most controversial proposals heads to court.

Environment Minister George Heyman says in a statement that British Columbians have a “personal connection” with the environment and need to have their voices heard about steps to protect land and water.

The province is looking for input on four policy areas: response times for oil spills, geographic response plans, how to best regulate marine spills, and compensation for the impact of spills.

Last week, Premier John Horgan announced the province would go to court to get a legal determination on whether B.C. has jurisdiction over its fifth point — limiting the expansion of diluted bitumen shipments through the province.

RELATED: Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

That point drew the ire of Alberta’s government, with officials saying it was an illegal way of effectively killing the expansion of Kinder Morgan Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline to the B.C. coast.

Alberta views the $7.4-billion project as essential to getting a fair price for its oil.

The dispute prompted Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to ban imports of B.C. wine, a restriction that was lifted when Horgan announced the constitutional reference case.

RELATED: Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

But Notley said in a video posted to Facebook on Saturday that her province’s fight is far from over.

“We will do what it takes to defend our interests. So let’s be very clear — if B.C. tries to pull a stunt like that again, not only will the wine ban come back, so to will additional retaliatory measures,” she said.

Notley said a task force she convened is mapping out additional retaliatory measures and the province’s legal team is hard at work.

She also encouraged people across the country to voice their support for Alberta’s actions.

“Not only (is B.C.) flouting the national interest, they’re putting our economy, our climate plan and our workers at risk,” Notley said.

RELATED: B.C. business groups urge Horgan to back down on Kinder Morgan

Heyman said Wednesday that B.C.’s proposed regulations don’t directly target the Trans Mountain project.

“This is not about Kinder Morgan specifically,” he told reporters in Victoria.

“This isn’t about anything other than ensuring that our practices on all oil transport are up to date and protect our interest.”

British Columbians should know that various oil products are currently transported across the province in a variety of ways, and they should be assured that measures are in place to prevent and clean spills in all sorts of geographic conditions, Heyman said.

B.C. residents are invited to fill out an online questionnaire about plans for spill regulations until April 30.

The province said in a statement Wednesday that it will engage with Indigenous Peoples, industry, local governments and environmental groups on the issues beginning immediately.

A summary report on the feedback is expected to be posted online later this year or early in 2019.

The government is also planning to establish an independent scientific advisory panel at a later date to study if and how heavy oils can be safely transported and cleaned up in the event of a spill.

Click here to fill out the survey.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Finalists announced for Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards

Winners will be honoured at an awards gala Friday, Feb. 22 at the Coast Bastion Hotel

Nanaimo Clippers beat league’s best team on trip

Clippers get past the Chilliwack Chiefs 2-1 as BCHL regular season winding down

Coldest Night of the Year walk supports people in Nanaimo experiencing homelessness

Island Crisis Care Society event takes place on Saturday, Feb. 23

Four Nanaimo athletes make Team B.C. for Canada Winter Games

Judo, synchronized swimming and boxing athletes qualify for games in Red Deer, Alta.

Buccaneers break a third-period tie to beat Generals

Nanaimo doubled up Oceanside 2-1 on Sunday in VIJHL action

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Atlantic Canada rock band Partner making Nanaimo debut this week

Polaris Prize-nominated band from Sackville, N.B. embarking on first West Coast tour

Most Read