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US Coast Guard to Probe BC Oil Tanker Expansion Plans PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow
Thursday, 10 January 2013 19:55

 

By Justina Reichel Epoch Times  January 9, 2013


 
 
 
An oil tanker plies the waters off California. The U.S. Coast Guard will review oil tanker traffic from Vancouver in light of Kinder Morgan  s plan to more than double the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline. (David McNew/Getty Images)

An oil tanker plies the waters off California. The U.S. Coast Guard will review oil tanker traffic from Vancouver in light of Kinder Morgan’s plan to more than double the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline. (David McNew/Getty Images)Oil tanker traffic off the British Columbia coast is coming under scrutiny as U.S. authorities launch a review of proposed increases in oil exports out of Vancouver harbour.

 

A legislative amendment proposed by Washington State Sen. Maria Cantwell and signed into law by President Barack Obama gives the U.S. Coast Guard six months to conduct a risk assessment of potential expansion of oil pipeline capacity to the West Coast.

The review comes in light of Kinder Morgan’s plan to twin its 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline system between Strathcona County, Alberta, and Burnaby, B.C. If approved, the expansion would increase the nominal capacity of the system from 300,000 barrels per day to 750,000 barrels per day.

“A supertanker oil spill near our shores would threaten Washington State’s thriving coastal economy and thousands of jobs,” Cantwell said in a statement. “This bill will provide crucial information for Washington coastal communities by requiring a detailed risk analysis within 180 days.”

The review will assess the risk of transporting oil via tanker and barge through the Salish Sea waterways, which encompass both U.S. and Canadian waters between southern Vancouver Island and the mainland.

The Coast Guard will also examine regulations that apply to oil tankers in U.S. waters compared to Canadian waters, and analyze whether extra safety measures are needed to transport what Cantwell calls “tar sands” oil.

 

 

A supertanker oil spill near our shores would threaten Washington State’s thriving coastal economy and thousands of jobs.

— Washington State Sen. Maria Cantwell

 

In addition, the review will include an analysis of the properties of the oil, “which are likely different than other types of oil and therefore could require special cleanup technology,” according to Cantwell’s statement.

A spokesperson for federal Transport Minister David Lebel says Canada has long worked closely with the U.S. to ensure goods are transported safely across their shared border.

“Our government has been clear: If any project does not meet or surpass our stringent environmental standards, it will not proceed,” said Mike Winterburn.

“Canada has strong environmental protection measures including double-hulled tanker requirements, mandatory pilotage, and improved navigational tools. Oil tankers have been moving safely and regularly along Canada’s West Coast for 80 years.”

 

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