Canada’s spill response plans causes some concern

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A ring of proposed pipeline and resource development projects surrounding Vancouver Island would dramatically increase the number of tankers and freighters in nearby waterways, and there are growing fears – on both sides of the border – that Canada is not prepared to deal with a major oil spill.

Sheila Malcolmson, chairwoman of the Islands Trust, the land-use and planning agency for British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, said she has peppered the federal government with questions about oil spill response plans.

“We are told that successful (spill cleanups) recover 10 to 15% of the oil, so our first priority has to be advocacy around preventing spills in the first place,” Malcolmson said.

“Then, the other area of concern is, when there’s a spill, what is the capacity for cleaning it up? The more we learn about that, the more worried we are.”

There have been federal assurances that precautions will be in place before projects are approved, but the Islands Trust says those have been short on specifics.

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