Today were excited to announce the release of a brand new report, co-authored by the Wilderness Committee with our allies at the Living Oceans Society, Georgia Strait Alliance and West Coast Environmental Law.
The report, Financial Liability for Kinder Morgan, takes a deeper look at the price tag for a potential oil tanker spill in the Salish Sea resulting from the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker route. This proposal represents a massive increase in the risk of a major oil spillone that could have severe impacts on coastal industries and highly-populated communities including Vancouver, Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands. But shockingly, the limited amount of insurance available to pay for the response and damages associated with such a spill would leave taxpayers on the hook for up to 90% of the cost.
Even though the BC government has been talking about asking polluters to pay for land-based oil spill cleanup, the provinces new spill response plan would not address marine-based spills from tankers like the ones being serviced at the Kinder Morgan terminal. And experience has shown us that spills in water are much more damaging, and more difficult and costly to clean up than spills on land.
Just this month, Kinder Morgan announced that they would be increasing the planned capacity of their proposed Trans Mountain pipeline from 750,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day; that means even more tar sands diluted bitumen flowing underneath our communities and into tankers on the Salish Sea. Instead of 300 tankers per year coming into the Vancouver harbour as originally planned, the proposal would now see more than 400 oil tankers travelling through these waters every year.
British Columbias coastal communitiesand their local economiesrely on a clean, productive and beautiful ocean. An oil spill here would have long-lasting impacts and economic repercussions, especially for key industries like tourism, fishing and recreation.
I encourage you to read this report to learn more about the international agreements and funds in place to deal with marine-based oil spills, and about the potential economic losses that would be faced by the Salish Sea region in the event of a spill. Click here to visit our website and download the full report.
You can also help out by sharing this report with your friends, family and colleagues. Being informed about the risks and consequences is essential if were going to stop this pipeline and protect the coast from an oil spill!
Gwen Barlee | Policy Director