Environment Minister Terry Lake says an environmental assessment for the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery is suspended pending further study on the effects of land and marine fuel spills.
He said, in a statement late Monday, that a symposium featuring experts in fuel spill response is being held March 25 to 27 to discuss the best practices for B.C.
After a new preparedness plan is complete, the government will decide whether to grant an environmental certificate for the project.
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie is opposed to the project which will involve fully-loaded tankers travelling on the Fraser River to southeast Richmond.
Under the proposal, jet fuel will be piped 15 kilometres to the airport through a pipeline running diagonally across Richmond.
In an editorial Monday to The Vancouver Sun, Brodie said council has “steadfastly opposed this proposal from the outset” because of the many economic, social and environmental risks to Richmond and surrounding areas.
“Jet fuel will be off-loaded perilously close to environmentally sensitive areas on both sides of the river,” he wrote.
“Despite repeated requests, there has been no satisfactory plan developed to address potential environmental impacts should there be a major spill in these sensitive areas.”
Adrian Pollard, project director for the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation said environmental protection on the Fraser River is a top priority and experts with the corporation have consulted thoroughly with the federal and provincial governments to develop protection and response strategies.
“We understand that before the government makes a decision on our project, it wants to complete work that it began last year on spill response regimes covering land-based spills and marine spills that may impact BC shorelines,” said Pollard.
“We await the conclusion of that work, and are confident that the spill prevention and response measures we are proposing will match the high standards that the government is seeking to implement.”
The province was due to make a decision on whether to grant the environmental assessment certificate by the end of February.
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