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

Nearly 25,000 people cast ballots in Chilliwack

Turnout 10,000 votes higher than in 2014

Popove pledges to work hard as new mayor of Chilliwack

Ken Popove to take the helm from incumbent Sharon Gaetz

Chilliwack school board results reveal clear split

Incumbents Dan Coulter, Heather Maahs and Barry Neufeld join four new board members

Popove elected mayor in Chilliwack

Gaetz second, Waddington third; new faces on city council

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Fraser Valley man dead after head on crash in Okanagan

Accident occurred at about 7:35 a.m.

Newly-elected Lower Mainland mayor won’t drink his city’s tap water

White Rock’s Darryl Walker is concerned about its quality

Kennedy Stewart challenged with building bridges as mayor of Vancouver: expert

The former NDP MP, who ran as an Independent, will lead 10 councillors divided across four parties

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

Vees notch up another win

Undermanned Vees take down league-leading Chilliwack Chiefs

Most Read