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

Mid-Vancouver Island air quality risk very high

Residents of the mid-Island area went to bed last night and awoke… Continue reading

Rogers ‘enhances’ wireless in Qualicum Beach

Announcement part of a multi-year national network plan

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Blue Tie Campaign set to tee off Aug. 25

Annual event is fundraiser for the Island Prostate Centre

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Suspect in Spiderman suit steals camera on Vancouver Island

Suspect in red and blue “onesie” caught on surveillance footage breaking into truck in Nanaimo

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Zeballos wildfire not getting any closer to town – BC Wildfire Service

Authorities optimistic about Zeballos; choppers grounded due to heavy smoke

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Liberals scrap lottery system for reuniting immigrants with their parents

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

Most Read