Bella Bella Spill a Wake up Call on Failed “World Class” Containment

Victoria, B.C. - “The provincial and federal government’s ability to respond to spills is nowhere near ‘world class’ — it is not even passingly adequate,” says Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay - Gordon Head and leader of the B.C. Green Party.

“The diesel spill near Bella Bella, B.C. has been ongoing since the 13th and they can’t even keep a containment boom around the leak. What’s even worse is that a spill response boat responding to the accident also sank. You literally can’t make this stuff up.”

The Heiltsuk ​Nation Chief Marilyn Slett reported that the containment booms around the sunken tug had failed in the face of continuing storms and waves as high as three metres, and the spill had spread. That was later confirmed by the owner of the sunken tug, Kirby Offshore Marine.

“This is devastating to the Heiltsuk Nation and everyone who lives in the region reliant on the coast for sustenance and income,” says Andrew Weaver “This spill, as well as the bunker oil leak in Vancouver Harbour that closed beaches, demonstrate that it is impossible for the provincial and federal governments to meet all of the five conditions set by the province regarding pipeline expansion. 

“The people who live in the Bella Bella region deserve to know how this spill will impact their home and health, and how they will be compensated. They are on the front lines trying to save the clam beds and prevent the damage from spreading. The provincial government needs to step up and take an active stake.

“While the news that marine pilots will now be required on all vessels transporting fuel is welcome, this retroactive response clearly demonstrates spill prevention is not the priority it should be.

Media Contact:

Mat Wright, Press Secretary, Office of Andrew Weaver MLA
mat.wright@bcgreens.ca
250 216 3382

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