B.C. updates law on environmental spill response and preparedness

VICTORIA - British Columbia's environment minister says potential polluters will face new penalties for spills and stronger rules governing cleanups as the government moves to amend environmental legislation.

See Full Article

Mary Polak said Monday amendments to the Environmental Management Act also seek to establish a new spill preparedness and response system to tackle environmental emergencies.

"This legislation will allow us to require that companies not just report a spill and clean it up, but they actually have to be showing us that they have plans to be prepared that they are able to prevent spills," she said. "And, as much as possible, when a spill does occur there are requirements not only around clean up but also going on to restoration."

Polak said B.C.'s existing law is out of date and she expects new regulations to go in effect next year. Consultations between government, industry, First Nations and other groups, including some environmental organizations, have been ongoing for the past three years, she said.

"This will expand and build on our existing legislation," said Polak. "It will address gaps and help us catch up to other jurisdictions."

She said the amendments on oil spill response, prevention and recovery address one of the province's five conditions for its support of oil pipelines.

B.C.'s five conditions to support pipeline projects include receiving regulatory environmental approval, First Nations support, economic benefit, as well as marine and land spill response, prevention and recovery systems.

Those conditions apply to the proposed Trans-Mountain and Northern Gateway pipeline projects to transport Alberta oil-based products to the west and northwest coasts.

Christianne Wilhelmson, executive director of the Georgia Strait Alliance, said her organization will monitor the spill response and recovery provisions in the regulations.

"We need better spill response," she said. "We want a system where the public is more involved. Right now local communities have no idea what their role is when it comes to a spill."

NDP environment critic George Heyman said environmental protection is far down on the government's priority list.

"It's very hard to understand how this can be a world-class spill response when this government simply does not have the resources or people on the ground to do some serious monitoring when there is an oil spill or even identify when a spill has taken place," he said.

The amended law will include new fines for offences ranging between $300,000 and $400,000, and jail terms of up to six months.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Islamic State recaptures historic Palmyra in Syria

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- Islamic State militants seized the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra on Sunday from government troops despite a wave of Russian airstrikes, a major advance after a year of setbacks in Syria and neighbouring Iraq. Source
  • No winner in $5M Lotto 649 draw

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- No winning ticket was sold for the $5 million jackpot in Saturday night's Lotto 649 draw. However, the $1 million guaranteed prize was claimed by a ticket purchased in the Prairies. The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Dec. Source
  • Dozens killed in Nigerian church collapse

    World News CBC News
    Dozens of people were killed by the collapse of a church in southeastern Nigeria, a photojournalist who visited the town morgue said on Sunday, a day after the incident. "Dead bodies are stacked on top of each other because there is no space," he said. Source
  • Bombing at Coptic Christian cathedral kills 25 in Egypt

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- A bombing at a chapel adjacent to Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral killed 25 people and wounded another 49 during Sunday mass, in one of the deadliest attacks carried out against the religious minority in recent memory. Source
  • Bombing at Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral kills 25

    World News CBC News
    A bombing at Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral killed 25 people and wounded another 35 on Sunday, in one of the deadliest attacks carried out against the religious minority in recent memory. The attack came two days after a bomb elsewhere in Cairo killed six policemen, an assault claimed by a shadowy group that authorities say is linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Source
  • 39 dead as truck rams into vehicles on Kenya road

    World News CBC News
    A runaway truck carrying volatile gas slammed into other vehicles and burst into flames on a major road in Kenya, killing at least 39 people and injuring 10, officials said early Sunday. The truck lost control while going downhill on the road from the capital, Nairobi, to Naivasha late Saturday, said Mwachi Pius Masai, the deputy director and communications officer for the National Disaster Management Unit. Source
  • ISIS captures Palmyra castle overlooking ancient Syrian city

    World News CBC News
    Fighters with the group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have captured Palmyra castle overlooking the ancient city in eastern Syria, a news agency affiliated to the militants said on Sunday.CBC goes to the front lines in the battle for AleppoAleppo exodus grows as thousands more leaveSyria, Russia pound rebel-held Aleppo but advances haltHeavy Russian air strikes had pushed back the militants from inside the city hours after they advanced on it in recent days in a surprise multi-pronged…
  • Day of mourning in Turkey after blasts targeting police kill 38

    World News CBC News
    Turkey declared a national day of mourning Sunday after twin blasts in Istanbul killed 38 people and wounded 155 others near a soccer stadium — the latest large-scale assault to traumatize a nation confronting an array of security threats. Source
  • A nasty Hungarian national mood rejects immigrants — and journalists

    World News CBC News
    The Goy Bikers Association of Budapest. Translation: The Non-Jewish Bikers Association of Budapest. We went looking for them as part of a report on the proliferation of extreme-right, xenophobic and anti-Semitic groups in Hungary, clothing themselves as nationalist defenders of the land. Source
  • 'We must kill the black snake': Prophecy and prayer motivate Standing Rock movement

    World News CBC News
    There is an ancient Lakota prophecy about a black snake that would slither across the land, desecrating the sacred sites and poisoning the water before destroying the Earth. For many Indigenous people gathered near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, that snake has a name — the Dakota Access pipeline. Source