Government officials in Washington State are keeping a close eye on plans to expand oil shipping in British Columbia, wanting to ensure enough protections are in place.
Speaking on the Simi Sara Show on CKNW, David Byers, who heads up oil spill response with the the Washington State Department of Ecology, says while they have a great relationship with authorities this side of the border, they also have concerns that spill response is not keeping up with expansion.
Washington state has stricter shipping rules than BC
He says in Washington, the ship responsible for a spill is legally responsible to notify authorities.
“And then when a spill happens, they are responsible for — in addition to making notification to government agencies — for implementing their response plan and it’s government’s role to make sure that is happening in a timely and effective manner.”
In the fuel spill this month in Vancouver’s English Bay, it was a boater who reported the spill to the Coast Guard, who called in a private company to clean it up and then alerted the city, albeit several hours later.
Byers says B.C. doesn’t need identical plans, but does need similar protections.
The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 is an agreement between the United States and Canada which deals with, among other things, shipping and transportation rights across boundaries.