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

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

Temperature records broken in Esquimalt Harbour and four other B.C. cities

The last temperature record in Esquimalt Harbour was set in 1999

Pearkes book sale will have 15,000 titles

Some seek volume of books while others hunt early editions in annual Saanich sale

Gingerbread Showcase returns for another year of delicious fun in Victoria

Funds raised from the event support Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s build in Central Saanich

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that ‘the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity.’

Most Read