Trudeau introduces Oil Tanker Moratorium Act for West Coast

Oil prices

Oil tanker BP photo.

Legislation proposes strong penalty provisions for contravention reaching up to $5 million

Today, the Government of Canada introduced C-48, the proposed Oil Tanker Moratorium Act in Parliament, according to a government press release.

This Act is delivering on the Just Trudeau Liberals’ campaign promise to formalize a crude oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia’s north coast.

The Government of Canada claims the act is to ensure those goods are transported in a safe and responsible way while protecting our marine environment and clean water.

The proposed legislation applies to the shipment of crude oils defined by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships.

It also applies to related oil products that are heavier and, when spilled, break up and dissipate slowly. A complete list of these products included in the moratorium is outlined in a schedule to the proposed Act.

The legislation will prohibit oil tankers carrying crude and persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading or unloading at ports or marine installations in northern British Columbia.

It claims to provide a high level of protection for the coastline around Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound.

“The Government of Canada is committed to demonstrating a clean environment and a strong economy can go hand-in-hand. Tabling this legislation is another step towards fulfilling our promise to formalize the tanker moratorium on British Columbia’s north coast,” said Marc Garneau, minister of transport.

“This, and other actions we are taking to improve marine safety through the Oceans Protection Plan, will protect the coasts and waterways that Canadians depend on for generations to come.”

The proposed moratorium area extends from the Canada/United States border in the north, down to the point on British Columbia’s mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and also includes Haida Gwaii.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is disappointed with introduction of the bill.

“Market access continues to be a significant challenge for Canada’s energy industry and the Government of Canada’s decision to introduce a moratorium on crude oil tankers off the B.C. North Coast further limits our ability to reach customers in Asia,” said CAPP CEO Tim McMillan.

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Vessels carrying less than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude or persistent oil as cargo will continue to be permitted in the moratorium area to ensure northern communities can receive critical shipments of heating oils and other products.

The legislation proposes strong penalty provisions for contravention that could reach up to $5 million. The legislation also proposes flexibility for amendments.

Further refined petroleum products can be removed from the list on the basis of science and environmental safety. Products may also be added on this basis.

The proposed Oil Tanker Moratorium Act is part of Government of Canada’s $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan.

“Canada already has world-class marine tanker safety systems in place, further strengthened by the federal government’s Oceans Protection Plan. The federal government has not identified or provided industry with science‐based gaps in safety or environmental protection that justifies a moratorium. CAPP does not support Bill C-48,” said McMillian.

Posted in: Canada

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