[MEDIA RELEASE] Spill response a wake-up call

For immediate release
Thurs. Apr. 9, 2015
VICTORIA B.C. - The spill of bunker fuel oil in English Bay, Vancouver is a wake up call exposing a lack of ‘world class’ oil spill response on the West Coast. Media reports on the communications and response are deeply troubling considering the plans to expand tanker and freighter traffic in Vancouver Harbour and throughout B.C. coastal waters.
Residents of Metro Vancouver should be concerned. Reports are that oil is already impacting local beaches and the City of Vancouver has issued a notice advising residents to avoid contact with any oil that washes on shore.
The fact the B.C. Government has yet to publicly demonstrate cooperation and communication with Vancouver Port authorities, the Coast Guard and City of Vancouver is disturbing. This unfortunately illustrates an inability to coordinate effectively and efficiently with the necessary authorities to provide an adequate response. Clearly we are a long way from dealing with any oil spill, let alone from a vessel carrying diluted bitumen.
“This spill is deeply concerning.,” said Adam Olsen, Interim-Leader of the B.C. Green Party. “My colleague Andrew Weaver and I toured Port Metro Vancouver last week and we discussed the implications of an oil spill in Burrard Inlet. Now we are seeing it play out first hand. We simply cannot afford the environmental, social or economic disruptions of a spill now or in the future.”
“The fact that it took a reported nine hours to deploy the first containment booms is totally unacceptable,” said Olsen. “It appears that we have insufficient resources and coordination in place to handle an oil spill, which is precisely the reason we have been actively critical about the massive expansion of oil tanker traffic through the Salish Sea.”
The B.C. Green Party is deeply concerned with the increase of shipping traffic through the Salish Sea and events such as the one playing out in English Bay highlights an immediate need to ensure that we have the resources and capability to respond to any situation. Anything less is unacceptable.
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