The federal Minister of Transportation says research from the Oceans Protection Plan could find the best ways of dealing with a potential oil spill.
The federal government announced the $1.5-billion dollar initiative back in November, in advance of approving the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Marc Garneau says investigations on how to protect B.C.’s coastlines are underway.
“The research is underway, and we will be continuing that research during the next three years to make sure that we fully understand what are the possible consequences if crude oil or dilbit or bitumen were to land in the water.”
Garneau adds the response to the sinking of the Nathan E. Stewart shows the federal government isn’t doing enough to protect coastlines.
In that case, a U.S. tug pushing an empty fuel barge ran aground near Bella Bella, spilling more than 100,000 litres of diesel fuel.
It sparked environmental concerns after cleanup crews took nearly a day to reach the site, and rough weather prevented them from capturing much of the spilled fuel.
He says officials are hoping to learn new techniques to better handle future incidents.
“The research may lead to different ways of recovery and dealing with a potential spill.”
The new five-year plan includes a multi-partner oil spill response team and environmental protections for whales.
However, it remains light on details such as how much of the money will flow to British Columbia, what portion will be dedicated specifically to spill cleanup, or what new regulations may be put in place.