Nature Canada

A Serious Plan to Prevent and Clean up Marine Oil Spills  

Image of Stephen Hazell

Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel

The $1.5 billion National Ocean Protection Plan announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday is a serious attempt to prevent and clean up marine oil spills along Canada’s Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic coasts. The Plan promises:

  • Increased marine safety information for mariners and improving hydrography, charting and e-navigation products;
  • Investments in oil spill cleanup research and methods;
  • Funding for research on impacts of increased shipping on marine ecosystems and protection of marine mammals (such as the endangered Northern Right Whale);
  • Investment in research to support oceanographic oil spill trajectory models;
  • Adequate industry-funded compensation for those affected by oil spills through changes to the Canadian Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund; and
  • Tougher requirements on industry to respond quickly to spills from ships.

However, Nature Canada questions whether the federal plan – or even a bigger plan that spends many more billions of dollars – could ever hope to clean up a major spill from a tanker carrying Kinder-Morgan bitumen through the Salish Sea let alone a tanker carrying Energy East bitumen through the Bay of Fundy with its 14 metre tides and powerful currents. We are not sure that more tugboats, booms and better spill-trajectory models would ever be adequate to clean up any major spill.

That is why Nature Canada will be continuing our intervention in the National Energy Board’s Energy East hearings presenting independent scientific evidence and questioning TransCanada’s consultants. You learn more and support our efforts here.

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