The Federal Government announced new measures in Vancouver today to ensure pipeline companies pick up the tab for any spills, as Cabinet prepares to announce its decision on the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline project next month.
Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford says under the new rules, pipeline companies will have absolute liability in the event of a spill, which means they will have to pay all costs without needing to be proven negligent or at fault.
“We will also be providing authority for the National Energy Board to assume control of incident response in exceptional circumstances. Those costs are recoverable from industry to ensure taxpayers are protected.”
Rickford was questioned about the timing of this announcement.
“This is not tied to a specific project, I think it’s fair to say there are a number of projects across the country at any point in the process, this is about a world class pipeline and tanker system regime.”
BC’S Transportation Minister Todd Stone says he is encouraged by the news.
“The announcement frankly both yesterday, the announcement today by the federal government, in our opinion, represent very good steps in the right direction, in terms of developing world class spill response, preparedness and recovery guidelines.”
Stone adds the piece of public policy is “largely congruent” with BC’s five conditions with respect to pipeline development.
Yesterday Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced changes to marine safety regulations around oil spills, including a 400-million dollar compensation fund to cover the costs of a marine spill.
B.C. is in the midst of a divisive debate about two major pipeline proposals, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan’s expansion of its Trans Mountain line, both of which would traverse the province with diluted bitumen from Alberta.