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Canada Steps Up Coastline Protection

11/16/16 8:33 AM

“It’s time for a change.” Those words came from Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, following a tugboat running aground and sinking off British Columbia’s central coast last month, spilling more than 100,000 litres of diesel fuel. A tour of the site prompting Trudeau’s announcement detailing a $1.5 billion ocean protection plan for responding to tanker and fuel spills in the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

According to the plan, the funding will be spent over the next five years to create a marine safety system, restoring marine ecosystems and researching new methods to clean up oil spills. Trudeau says funding will also be used to strengthen the Canadian Coast Guard, with changes taking place as soon as next year with the opening of a Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

In the effort to protect the longest coastline in the world, Canada is also going to set tougher rules for businesses that pollute the coasts and create new legislation, making vessel owners responsible and liable for clean-up costs of an abandoned, derelict or wreaked vessel.

This announcement comes ahead of a controversial decision on whether the Canadian government will approve the $6.8 billion Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. If the government gives the project the green light, which would triple the bitumen-carrying capacity to nearly 900,000 barrels a day from Alberta to Vancouver.  That vote is expected by December 19th, which has some worrying that plan is a sign of greater oil spill risk for the region.

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