Tugboat Nathan E. Stewart pushes a fuel barge up the B.C. coast toward Alaska. The tug and empty barge ran aground near Bella Bella a year ago. (Black Press file)

New rules in effect to transport liquid petroleum in B.C.

New regulations follow Nathan E. Stewart tug incident in which diesel leaked into Seaforth Channel

New regulations are in place for companies that transport liquid petroleum in B.C.

Companies must now have a provincial spill prepardness plan in place for pipelines, as well as rail and trucking operations that are transporting more than 10,000 litres. The owner of the product and the transporter are now also liable for the full cost of the response and recovery to a spill.

READ MORE: Heiltsuk blast government for ‘failures’ in immediate Nathan E. Stewart response

READ MORE: Haida Nation calls for shipping changes after diesel spill near Bella Bella

“These initial regulations increase responsibility, transparency and accountability for those who own as well as transport potentially dangerous products through our province,” said Environment Minister George Heyman in a news release Friday.

Last October, the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat spilled more than 110,000 litres of diesel fuel in the Seaforth Channel near Bella Bella.

Then-premier Christy Clark called for a bigger Coast Guard presence on B.C.’s coast for spill response.

The Heiltsuk First Nation released a report last spring, slamming the federal government for its emergency response to the spill and what it called a lack of information provided to locals.

The province is considering more regulations, the release added, that could require full compensation for First Nation, community and provincial response and recovery efforts in situations similar to the Nathan E. Stewart spill.


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