Enbridge oil spill could cost Canadians billions: report


From TheTyee.ca – Jan 13, 2011

by Geoff Dembicki

Canadian taxpayers could be on the hook for billions of dollars in
clean-up and compensation costs if an oil tanker crashed on the west
coast, suggests a report released Thursday.

“The funding and compensation scheme that exists under
Canadian law would be remarkably inadequate in the event of a
catastrophic oil spill,” it reads.

The report was written by the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre and prepared for the Living Oceans Society.

It notes that Canadian law currently provides up to about
$1.33 billion to deal with the aftermath of potential oil spills. Yet
remediation costs associated with the Exxon Valdez disaster were at
least US $3.5 billion, the report reads.

And the U.S. government forced BP to set up a US $20 billion compensation fund for its Gulf of Mexico spill.

Thursday’s report is aimed directly at Enbridge’s plans
to build a pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands operations to coastal
Kitimat, then transport crude oil on supertankers to markets in China
and beyond.

In the event a tanker crashed in the notoriously
turbulent waters of the Hecate Strait, Enbridge would have little legal
liability, the report notes.

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.