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

Heartbreak in 2017 turns to jubilation in 2018 for TWU hockey

After coming close last season, Spartans hockey team captures first championship in program history

VIDEO: Officer knocked down by truck trailer in Langley City

IRSU investigator was looking for distracted drivers

Free parking not in the cards for Fraser Valley hospitals

Chair says board may look at ways to make parking easier, but not free

VIDEO: Fans line up to meet Riverdale stars

Actor Cole Sprouse treated fans in Langley to hugs, selfies and autographs

Talking about poverty reduction in Langley

Provincial Ministry of Social Development to hold Poverty Reduction Strategy community meeting

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

BCHL Today: Surrey Eagles in the driver’s seat and Ethan Martini takes a seat

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

New Liberal bill would tighten controls on sale, licensing of firearms in Canada

Measures are intended to assist police in investigating gun trafficking and other crimes

Murder charges upgraded for B.C. man accused of killing wife and daughters

Crown approved new information on Jacob Forman’s file

5 to start your day

Some puppies need naming, a police-involved death in South Surrey and more

Janet Austin announced as B.C.’s new lieutenant governor

Austin has served as YWCA Metro Vancouver CEO since 2003

Ex-French president Sarkozy in custody on Gadhafi claims

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was placed in custody as part of an investigation that he received millions of euros in illegal financing

Hockey pioneer Kwong dies at 94

Vernon’s Larry Kwong was the first player to break NHL colour barrier in 1948

Most Read