Kitsilano (Vancouver) Coast Guard Station Closure by Harper

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The National Energy Board (NEB) has announced a review of emergency response measures at Kinder Morgan, the corporation whose pipeline expansion would lead to a sevenfold increase in oil tanker traffic at the port of Vancouver tanker traffic.


300,000 barrels of oil flow a day from Alberta. Kinder Morgan’s proposal to twin the line would move 890,000 barrels. It would mean oil traffic in Vancouver would increase from five tankers per month to 34.

This is another attempt to reassure the public that everything is fine after the Engiish Bay oil spill debacle. Seven Metro Vancouver mayors and even Premier Christy Clark have questioned the obviously non-world class oil spill response system currently in place. 

ETA: The NEB CEO admits that its approach may be "stuck" in the past and need review. However he goes on to reasure everyone that the NEB will rely on the fossil fuel industry to come up with a new set of best practices with regard to monitoring pipelines and dealing with oil spills. He also notes that he has no mandate to deal with climate change or the amount of oil being produced in Alberta.

With such reassurances everyone can go back to sleep and forget about the English Bay oil spill and the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station.

The National Energy Board plans to conduct an audit of the emergency response program at Kinder Morgan Canada’s existing facilities, board chairman and CEO Peter Watson told The Vancouver Sun, as the agency looks to give more of a public face to its regulatory work.

The audit, which could take up to a year with its results made public at the end, will be part of the NEB’s regular work in monitoring the compliance of pipeline companies, and not contribute to the board’s public review of Kinder Morgan’s $5.4-billion proposal to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline and double its capacity. ...

Premier Christy Clark was among those expressing dissatisfaction about the amount of information being made public, and while Watson said there are reasons for keeping some information under wraps, he agreed the public should know more about such plans and vowed to correct the situation.

“We’ve done certain things a certain way for so long, and maybe we’re stuck,” Watson said during a Sun editorial board meeting.

“I’ve already said in some stories that I’m not happy with the information that’s out there publicly,” and he has called on the industry, through the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, to come up with a new set of “best practices,” which he will take to public consultation.

However, whether Watson’s efforts sway the views of Metro Vancouver critics remains to be seen. The NEB’s decision last fall allowing Kinder Morgan to conduct exploratory drilling on Burnaby Mountain, over the City of Burnaby’s objections, touched off weeks of protests.

And seven Metro Vancouver mayors, including Gregor Robertson and Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, at the end of March signed a statement of non-confidence in the Trans Mountain review and called on the federal government to stop it.

With 400 registered interveners “that are actively engaging and following every step,” Watson said the Trans Mountain review is probably the biggest the NEB’s history, so its panel had to find a way of keeping it effective, fair and transparent for all of them. ...

Critics are trying to pull in elements that are not part of its mandate in reviewing the proposed pipeline facilities, Watson argued, such as climate change. Upstream production from Alberta’s oilsands is a provincial jurisdiction he won’t wade into.



On Friday, Metro Vancouver mayors challenged the National Energy Board CEO Peter Watson (see previous post for discussion of his proposed oil spill response audit) and Coast Guard spokesperson Girouard about the extremely poorly resourced oil spill response system for Vancouver. Girouard's response that the slow response was due to the "fog of war" is a classic cop out nonpareil. With spokespeople like him, the Cons don't need critics pointing out the problems they have created.

Nevertheless, the meeting was repeatedly interrupted by protesters angry at the mess the Cons have created both literally and figuratively. 


Vancouver-area mayors grilled federal officials in charge of pipeline regulation and oil-spill cleanup on Friday, with one saying the Canadian Coast Guard is "vastly underfunded."

National Energy Board chair Peter Watson and Canadian Coast Guard Assistant Commissioner Roger Girouard attended a meeting of the Metro Vancouver Mayors' Committee to discuss pipeline safety in the region.

Mayors interrogated the coast guard for its response to a recent fuel spill in English Bay and lambasted the energy board's approval process for Kinder Morgan's proposed $5.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. ...

North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton said the response to the recent spill -- in which it took 12 hours to secure an oil-absorbing boom around the MV Marathassa as it leaked toxic bunker fuel -- was inadequate. "It's very clear it's a significant problem," he said. "My perception, and the perception of many of my colleagues, is that you are vastly underfunded."

Girouard [replied] ... "You all recognize the concept of the fog of war,".

The meeting was interrupted frequently by protesters, some carrying anti-oil industry signs, who heckled Girouard and Watson.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said there was an "absolute lack of confidence" in the energy board's approval process for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would twin an existing pipeline that runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., and bring more tankers to the province's coast. He said the board was not considering how spills could impact Vancouver's economy, which he said depends on tourism and a high quality of life. ...

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan called the Trans Mountain review process a "sham" and slammed the board for excluding oral cross-examination and not considering the project's impact on climate change.


Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=]RAW VIDEO: Vancouver protesters beat Harper effigy[/url]


Below is a video and written record of the NDP's Finn Donnelly(MP, New Westminster–Coquitlam & Port Moody and Fisheries and Oceans critic) motion in Parliament last Monday demanding the re-opening of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station and Ucluelet Marine Communication and Traffic Service Centre, as well as stopping the plans to close the Vancouver and Comox MCTS centres.

The 10 minute speech clearly describes how the Con government has thrown the safety of Vancouver and coastal residents in general away and exponentially increased the risk to the environment by their ideological cuts to marine safety programs.

ETA: The Cons have cut marine safety programs 27%, and rail and aviation safety programs 20% each since 2009. (}

This is an ideology that says we can trust our security against toxic oil spills to corporations with the sole goal of increasing profits (justs as they have done with Lac Megantic rail accidents and food inspections for listeria and other bacteria).  After all, the only security threat that matters is ISIS and Al Quaeda - they have killed tens of thousands of Canadians, haven't they?



Below is a description of the English Bay oil spill and Environmental protest that culminated in the beating of the Harper effigy seen in the video in post #103.


Growing Frustration Over Environmental Issues

VANCOUVER – ENVIRONMENT – On Saturday April 25th at 4 pm, hundreds of community members converged at English Bay to vent anger and frustration at the federal government’s unacceptable response to a fuel spill in the Burrard Inlet two weeks ago. Community members used noisemakers and beat pots and pans, demanding the government take responsibility for the spill that resulted in the closure of the Musqueam fisheries, as well as all recreational fishing from Lion’s Gate Bridge to the mouth of the Georgia Straight. The demonstration was organized by a group of community members and is not affiliated with any particular organization.

Oil Spill Protesters Send Political Message

Demonstrators also beat a papier mâché effigy of Stephen Harper riding an oil tanker. Chaya Go, Filipina disaster relief worker and the event MC, told the crowd that effigies are all too familiar in the streets of Manila, where protesters often parade larger-than-life size icons of oppressors. “Though huge in size, effigies are hollow and made of paper—a true representation of people power: how masses in solidarity can take down these large but otherwise empty bases of power.”

Go also made connections between tar sands expansion and climate change-related disasters such as super typhoon Haiyan that ravaged the Philippines in 2013. Community members expressed anger over the federal government’s push to increase projects such as Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, slated to run through Burnaby Mountain.

“If that project is completed, tanker traffic will increase from about 60 tankers a year to about 400 every year. If this government can’t handle a relatively small fuel spill, how will they handle what we know is an inevitable bitumen spill?” spokesperson Scott Knowles said.

Demonstrators blamed the Harper government for the broad cuts to coastal marine safety that led to the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, a unit that, according to retired coast guard commander Fred Moxie, could have responded to the spill in six minutes.


montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

As the Green Party is against sewage treatment, they can hardly be trusted on this issue. The Conservatives and the Liberals are both hearty supporters of the hydrocarbons industry, although the Liberals will babble with mealy-mouthed hypocrisy on the environmental file.

Again, by simply being the only untainted party, the NDP wins.


ETA: North Vancouver mayor Richard Walton has joined Vancouver and Burnaby mayors Gregor Robertson and Derek Corrigan in criticizing the slow and inadequate response of the Coast Guard to the English Bay oil spill, as well as the inadequate resources, in part due to the closing of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station by the Cons, it now has because of Cons cuts to marine safety spending.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said that there was an absolute lack of confidence in the National Energy Board's review of Kinder Morgan's application to triple oil pipeline shipments through the Vancouver harbour. 

Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan went even further, calling the entire process a sham. 


The mayor of North Vancouver says a fuel spill on English Bay could have been worse and he’s concerned the pace of the response suggests the Canadian Coast Guard has a “significant lack of resources.” ...

Roger Girouard, assistant commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, appeared at a meeting of Metro Vancouver mayors on Friday. One of the discussion topics was pipeline safety and Mr. Girouard was joined by Peter Watson, chair of the National Energy Board. ...

[Walton] said he was concerned about the length of time it took to respond to the English Bay spill.

“The spread of the oil and the consequences could have been significantly more severe. … We don't think [spill response is] adequate right now, let alone increasing volumes and increasing tanker traffic ,” he said.

Mr. Walton said he recognizes the coast guard can’t respond to a call within minutes, like a fire hall.

“However, when you're looking at the inner harbour area I think there's an expectation that it wouldn't be unreasonable to know that there's people on call who are ready to literally jump in boats and get out there and get going. And it appears that right now the level of response time is far from perhaps what most of our residents, what most of our local governments, would anticipate,” he said.

The coast guard’s response has also been criticized by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and B.C. Premier Christy Clark, among others. The coast guard has said its response was exceptional and pointed to the fact 80 per cent of the fuel was recovered within 36 hours. Mr. Girouard has said he does not believe the coast guard has a lack of resources. ...

Mayor Robertson, who chaired the meeting, said the region’s tourism sector has done very well and a spill could put it in serious danger.

“That success is at risk with incidents like we've just seen on the water here. The images of Vancouver with an oil spill on the water went global,” he said.

Mayor Robertson also had harsh words for the NEB chair. He said the mayors have made it very clear the board’s process for the Kinder Morgan pipeline project is flawed, pointing to what he said was a lack of environmental consideration and public consultation.

“There is an absolute lack of confidence in the NEB process that’s taking place right now with respect to the Kinder Morgan proposal,” he said.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said he believes the NEB process is “a sham.”



epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

English Bay confirms Canada’s not ready for a major oil spill

Response lacking: Coast guard’s claim 80 per cent was recovered is ludicrous

In the wake of the toxic fuel spill in English Bay two weeks ago, officials at all levels of government were playing the blame game and pointing fingers over a not-so-world-class spill response plan. But beneath all that posturing and righteous indignation remains one simple fact: Canada — from its spill response teams to its legislative framework — is not ready to handle a major spill.

I spent decades as a senior general counsel at the Department of Justice, where I prosecuted both criminal and civil oil spill cases. My work on the Nestucca oil spill — which spilled 874,000 litres of oil off the coast of Oregon, polluted the beaches of Vancouver Island and killed 35,000 migratory birds — made me intimately aware of how even a moderate-sized spill can impact people and the environment for years after the fact....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..damage control

National Energy Board to launch public consultation on transparency of emergency management plans

National Energy Board Chair Peter Watson has called the review process for oil spill preparedness plans tabled by the energy industry "too conservative" and announced a new commitment to public transparency.

In an address to the Vancouver Board of Trade, Watson said in his eight months at the head of the federal energy review panel, three questions have dominated pubic discussion: 

"Is my water safe?"

"Is my land safe?"

"And are you prepared in the case of a major pipeline incident?" 

In response, Watson said the answers to these questions will be found in a transparent review process and added the NEB will soon operate a Vancouver based office.

“Canadians deserve to be consulted on the transparency of emergency management information for NEB regulated pipelines," he said. "At its conclusion, the NEB will respond in a meaningful and measured way that reflects what we’ve heard and what is in the best interest of all Canadians."...


ETA: This Globe and Mail editorial points out what an "environmental disaster" an oil spill would be, as illustrated by the major damage that the relatively small English Bay oil spill caused, but then goes on, in typical corporate MSM fashion, to argue that we have to go ahead with such exports of our natural resources. Just another example of how most of political and influence-peddling elite remain as admitted as a heroin addict to fossil fuels in a world that is shifting towards renewable energy (see next post for more details on this).


The bunker-fuel spill this month of at least 2,800 litres – from the grain ship MV Marathassa, in English Bay, Vancouver – was small and localized. But it revealed big deficiencies on the part of the Coast Guard – and raised legitimate doubts about how well a large oil spill would be handled.

B.C.’s coastal waters could soon be home to a growing number of oil tankers. The TransMountain project of Kinder Morgan Inc., if approved and built, would move great quantities of diluted bitumen to Burnaby, to be loaded into double-hulled tankers, up to 120,000 tonnes per vessel. Currently, about 50 oil tankers a year depart from Port Metro Vancouver. If TransMountain goes ahead, that number could rise to as many as 400.

Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway project would create a comparably busy route, in a far more isolated region – shipping oil from Kitimat through the narrow, often rough waters of the Douglas Channel.

The Marathassa spill has raised significant questions about the Coast Guard, its reduced staff, its communications with other agencies and the closing two years ago of its Kitsilano station in Vancouver. These federal budget cuts may have been false economies. ...

An accident with a large tanker is far less likely to occur than one with a small vessel sailing under a flag of convenience (Cyprus, in this instance). But though a spill involving a strongly built tanker is an extremely low probability, if it happened it could be catastrophic – whether in the heavily populated Lower Mainland or in a more pristine environment such as the Kitimat-Stikine region.

One common factor, however, is the federal government, which supports both Northern Gateway and TransMountain. Canada produces enough oil that it must export some, even when oil is near the bottom of its price cycle. But if Ottawa cannot demonstrate committment and competency in handling a small oil spill, Canadians may end up doubting its ability to handle a large one.

This is not just about the Conservatives. The federal election is only six months away. All of the parties should put their minds to the question of how to support the necessary export of this country’s natural resources – without environmental disasters.




Our elites' addiction to fossil fuels not only contributes to global warming and catastrophic fossil fuel accidents such as BP's in the Gulf of Mexico (and quite possibly off the BC coast as tanker traffic grows exponentially due to additional pipelines), it risks leaving us behind as a fossil fuel dinosaur as renewable energy growth climbs exponentially.

Renewable energy investment already surpassed fossil fuel energy investment in 2011  in new power-plant investments for the first time (

Meanwhile thanks to the Cons we remain fossil fuel dinosaurs, with all the risks that entails. 

The following article details renewable energy's remarkable growth and points in the direction Canada needs to shift if it is not to be left behind in the future. 


Power generation from hydro, wind, solar and other renewable sources worldwide will exceed that from gas and be twice that from nuclear by 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today in its second annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report (MTRMR).    

According to MTRMR, despite a difficult economic context, renewable power is expected to increase by 40% in the next five years. Renewables are now the fastest-growing power generation sector and will make up almost a quarter of the global power mix by 2018, up from an estimated 20% in 2011. The share of non-hydro sources such as wind, solar, bioenergy and geothermal in total power generation will double, reaching 8% by 2018, up from 4% in 2011 and just 2% in 2006.

“As their costs continue to fall, renewable power sources are increasingly standing on their own merits versus new fossil-fuel generation,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven as she presented the report at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York. “This is good news for a global energy system that needs to become cleaner and more diversified, but it should not be an excuse for government complacency, especially among OECD countries.” ...

The forecasts in the report build on the impressive growth registered in 2012, when global renewable generation rose by over 8% despite a challenging investment, policy and industry context in some areas. In absolute terms, global renewable generation in 2012 – at 4 860 TWh – exceeded the total estimated electricity consumption of China.

Two main factors are driving the positive outlook for renewable power generation. First, investment and deployment are accelerating in emerging markets, where renewables help to address fast-rising electricity demand, energy diversification needs and local pollution concerns while contributing to climate change mitigation. Led by China, non-OECD countries are expected to account for two-thirds of the global increase in renewable power generation between now and 2018. Such rapid deployment is expected to more than compensate for slower growth and smooth out volatility in other areas, notably Europe and the US.

Second, in addition to the well-established competitiveness of hydropower, geothermal and bioenergy, renewables are becoming cost-competitive in a wider set of circumstances. For example, wind competes well with new fossil-fuel power plants in several markets, including Brazil, Turkey and New Zealand. Solar is attractive in markets with high peak prices for electricity, for instance, those resulting from oil-fired generation. Decentralised solar photovoltaic generation costs can be lower than retail electricity prices in a number of countries.








The extent of the shift towards renewable energy is seen in the following statement from the United Nations Environment (UNEP) 2015 Report:

"Renewable energy technologies excluding large hydro made up 48% of the net power capacity added worldwide in 2014, the third successive year in which this figure has been above 40%." (

Here are more details from the UNEP report.

Meanwhile the Cons remain dinosaurs sinking in the tarsands.


Global investment in renewable power and fuels (excluding large hydro-electric projects) was $270.2 billion in 2014, nearly 17% higher than the previous year.  ...

The trend last year was, arguably, even more impressive than it would seem from the investment numbers, because a record number capacity of wind and solar photovoltaic power was installed, at about 95GW. ...

A key feature of 2014 was the continuing spread of renewable energy to new markets. Investment in developing countries, at $131.3 billion, was up 36% on the previous year and came the closest ever to overhauling the total for developed economies, at $138.9 billion, up just 3% on the year. Indonesia, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa and Turkey were all in the billion-dollar-plus club in 2014 in terms of investment in renewables, and others such as Jordan, Uruguay, Panama, the Philippines and Myanmar were in the $500 million to $1 billion range. ...

Renewables faced challenges as 2015 began – notably from policy uncertainty in markets such as the US and the UK, retroactive policy changes in countries such as Italy and Romania, and concerns about grid access for small-scale solar in Japan and some US states. The most daunting challenge was, at first sight, the impact of the 50%-plus collapse in the oil price in the second half of last year. However, although the oil price is likely to dampen investor confidence in parts of the sector, such as solar in oil-exporting countries, and biofuels, in most parts of the world, oil and renewables do not compete for power investment dollars. Wind and solar sectors should be able to carry on flourishing, particularly if they continue to cut costs per MWh.

The cost-cutting achieved to date helped to ensure strong momentum for both those technologies in 2014. Overall investment in solar was up 29% to $149.6 billion, while that in wind advanced 11% to a record $99.5 billion.

The biggest locations for renewable energy investment last year were, predictably, the established markets in major economies – with China far out in front at $83.3 billion, a record number and 39% ahead of 2013. In second place came the US, at $38.3 billion, up 7% on the year but still well below its all-time high, reached in 2011. Third came Japan, at $35.7 billion, a tenth higher than in 2013 and its biggest total ever. India was up 14% at $7.4 billion, and Brazil 93% higher, at $7.6 billion.







Hopefully this oil spill will finally crystalize for the public, those in B.C. in particular, how anti-environment Harper is.

He's been able to get away with it up till now, but it would be good if this recent event has an impact on this year's election.

Would be nice to see it cost the CPC a number of seats in B.C.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..along those line jerrym

Meet Judith Sayers, a First Nations Renewable Energy Trailblazer

Judith Sayers is a former chief, a negotiator and a pioneer in helping First Nations get involved in the renewable energy business.

Her traditional name is Kekinusuqs (pronounced ke-kay-ana-suks) and she is a member of the Hupacasath (pronounced who-pa-cha-sut) First Nation in the Greater Alberni Valley on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Trained as a lawyer in Alberta she eventually made her way back to the Hupacasth First Nation where she served as chief for 14 years, as well as chief negotiator. In the '90s plans for a large natural gas facility in Port Alberni were turned away due to concern about emissions. "As a nation, we asked ourselves, 'Well, how can we be a part of the solution so that we aren't creating greenhouse gas emissions," says Sayers.

After evaluating several forms of renewable energy and the natural resources in their territory, run-of-river hydro made the most sense. They evaluated 10 sites on rivers, creeks and streams in their traditional territory and settled on China Creek. Run-of-river is a relatively simple piece of technology. You divert a part of creek that has a big elevation change into a pipe. You run that pipe downhill to a powerhouse where you spin a turbine with the force of the water and generate electricity.

The Hupucasath First Nation with Sayers as their chief built a 6.5-megawatt run-of-river hydro project that produces more than enough electricity for the 6,000 homes in Port Alberni. They created the Upnit Power Corporation and retained a 72.5 per cent controlling interest and worked with partners Synex Energy Resources Ltd. (12.5 per cent), Ucluelet First Nation (10 per cent) and Port Alberni (5 per cent).

"We believe in the right of self-determination," says Sayers. "We own 72.5 per cent of this project. We get to set the standards. And through setting the standards of how we operate, we also manage our territory, the land, the water, and that was one of the great benefits of doing this. And so we get to make the decisions."

They got to choose where to put the project, a key part in mitigating environmental damage. Due to impassable falls there was no salmon run in China Creek and care was taken to improve the health and numbers of the local Dolly Varden trout population. They also ensured there were no sacred sites and the project produced two full time jobs.

The Hupacasath gave the town of Port Alberni a five per cent stake in the business, which deepened their relationship with the town.

"That was just the start of lots of things and we're doing lots of new ventures now with the First Nations in this area. We have ten First Nations on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Port Alberni's is their headquarters for most of the First Nations, and there's lots of joint ventures going out, so that was the first," says Ken McRae, the former mayor of Port Alberni....

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and today 125 of the 203 First Nations in BC are involved in renewable energy projects. Not all involve ownership and numerous renewable energy technologies are being deployed including solar, wind and biomass. "Some First Nations are building their second and third projects," says Sayers....


Through interviews and freedom-of-information requests, the Globe and Mail has learned that US officials have  been so deeply concerned about Canada's oil spill response capabilities, not only since the English Bay oil spill but for a number of years before this, that they have considered taking legal action against Canada and the National Energy Board (NEB) because of:

  • the increased risk of oil spill from the tripling of oil shipments and increased tanker traffic that the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline would bring;
  • the completely inadequate oil spill response measures in Vancouver and the Juan de Fuca Strait that BC shares with Washington state;
  • the reduction in oil spill response capability represented by the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station;
  • the potential reduction in air quality from pipeline expansion and spills to the trans-border air shed;
  • the unfair advantage in terms of costs that the lack of oil spill responses gives Vancouver over Washington state ports with their much higher standards;
  • the unwillingness of the NEB to allow the US to raise these issues at its meetings on the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and instead to allow their comments to be given by email only.


Newly released U.S. documents show American authorities are nervously eyeing Canadian proposals to triple the number of oil tanker voyages through the shared waters off B.C.’s coast, saying among themselves that Canadian standards to clean up a major spill are decades behind those of the U.S. and leave states vulnerable to environmental damage and costs.

After the MV Marathassa spilled sticky, toxic bunker fuel into Vancouver’s harbour this month, Washington State officials noted in interviews with The Globe and Mail that the state’s oil-spill response regime was far advanced from Canada’s. One former maritime lawyer said if the U.S. Coast Guard ranked an eight or nine out of 10 worldwide, then Canada’s Coast Guard would rank a one or two.

But the records obtained by The Globe under U.S. access-to-information laws show that American officials have been worried about Canada’s oil-response capabilities for years, dating back to Canada’s National Energy Board hearings into the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and the proposed Kinder Morgan expansion project.

Some even urged the U.S. to sue the National Energy Board after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was initially barred from participating at the NEB hearings into Kinder Morgan on the grounds that it had missed the deadline to apply for commentator status.

“A catastrophic oil spill would set the Puget Sound cleanup effort back decades, and result in billions of dollars in harm to our economy and environment,” the state’s Ecology Department officials wrote to Washington Governor Jay Inslee in 2013.

“While other Pacific Rim trading partners benefit, our state will incur many of the risks. In the Salish Sea oil spill risks are being transferred by Canadian industry to Washington state, without sufficient controls.”

They also contrasted spill response systems: “B.C. lacks authority over marine waters, and their federal regime is probably a couple of decades behind the system currently in place in Washington State. … When it is spilled, we are concerned that dilbit oil may be considerably more toxic and damaging, and far more difficult to clean up, than conventional crude from Alaska.”

In a briefing to Mr. Inslee before a March, 2013, meeting with U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Keith Taylor, commander of the Pacific Northwest District, officials in the Ecology Department added: “Our industry and port should not have to incur higher cost than their counterparts in Canada because of their weaker standards. We need to have a level playing field with the Port of Vancouver.”

The documents also show lawyers working for the Environmental Protection Agency were unhappy about being denied full participant status on the Trans Mountain pipeline hearings a year ago.

Although Trans Mountain would not cross the border, the Environmental Protection Agency predicted in a comment to the NEB last spring that, “nearly tripling the capacity of the current pipeline will have potential air quality impacts on the trans-boundary air shed, including the U.S. portion.”

In February, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency was initially denied a chance to make a submission on Trans Mountain because it missed the deadline to apply. But two months later, the NEB gave the agency a lower ranked “commenter” status. Unlike intervenor status, this allows the EPA to send in its views by letter to the NEB hearing, but does not allow the agency to provide sworn evidence and cross-examine other parties. Full-fledged intervenor status was granted to the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency said in e-mails that’s contrary to the NEB’s obligations under Canadian law.

Last Nov. 21, Courtney Weber of the agency’s Seattle office wrote to tell other agency lawyers that four Puget Sound native groups had asked the agency to file a motion forcing the NEB to suspend its Kinder Morgan assessment hearings until the board consulted with the agency.

Ms. Weber wrote that the groups were arguing the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act requires the NEB to “consult and co-operate” with the EPA.

“I read through the [CEAA] and it appears to me that Earthjustice/Tribes have a good point,” Ms. Weber wrote.

“It does appear that NEB should have consulted with the U.S. (and, in turn, EPA and other such agencies) given the scope of the project which will increase tanker traffic in the [Puget] Sound. … NEB never actually sent out an offer to consult as contemplated by Section 18 of the CEAA.” ...




Dr. Riki Ott, an American expert in oi spill-related medicine sitting on a panel on the response to the English Bay spill, has warned that chemical illnesses such as oil-spill induced cancer, have been induced by oil spillls in the past. She



has been following oil spills since the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska in 1989. ...

“I’m dealing with people at the BP disaster with these headaches for the last five years, and now they’re turning into cancer,” she said on Wednesday.

“Chemical sickness mimic the same symptoms as normal illness ... say if there was a (large) spill in Vancouver bay, English Bay, what would we want in place?

“Would we want doctors that know about chemical poisoning? What if the wind is blowing to the north and there’s a swath of people that get headaches and nausea in downwind plume? Would we want an evacuation?”

These are the questions, she said, local authorities should be asking themselves when preparing a disaster response plan that focuses on human health and safety. With spills in the past, Ott said, officials had neglected to focus on symptom-based health impacts at the local level — instead focusing on area air or water quality guidelines as an indicator for safety.

“If people are getting sick below the (safety) standard — that’s not an all-clear. That’s a call to action,” she said.

Vancouver Coastal Health’s Dr. James Lu said these concerns are why the health authority commissioned a literature review of mental and physical health impacts felt in 16 major oil spills — that review was published in August last year.

In the event of a major spill, he said, first “we need to understand what was released ... put out notices to the affected area, knock on doors, making sure people get the message. (Sending) messages to the local general practitioners.

“Complementary to that, we would like the local community to be reporting to us in terms of what they see and the complaints.” ...

As for this month’s spill in English Bay, Lu said temporary closure notices have gone out to crab, shell and groundfishing areas around the bay to make sure no one eats any contaminated fish.




Metro Vancouver radio station CKNW is reporting that Washington state officials are now openly expressing their deep concern over the expansion of the pipelines and tanker traffic in BC, as well as the inadequate oil spill response mechanisms on the BC side of the border. Furthermore, they note that under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty (the text of the document is found within the url below), each country has the responsibility to maintain the shipping and transportation rights of its neighbour and failure to do so can result in lawsuits for damages.



Government officials in Washington State are keeping a close eye on plans to expand oil shipping in British Columbia, wanting to ensure enough protections are in place.

Speaking on the Simi Sara Show on CKNW, David Byers, who heads up oil spill response with the the Washington State Department of Ecology, says while they have a great relationship with authorities this side of the border, they also have concerns that spill response is not keeping up with expansion.

Washington state has stricter shipping rules than BC

He says in Washington, the ship responsible for a spill is legally responsible to notify authorities.

“And then when a spill happens, they are responsible for — in addition to making notification to government agencies — for implementing their response plan and it’s government’s role to make sure that is happening in a timely and effective manner.”

In the fuel spill this month in Vancouver’s English Bay, it was a boater who reported the spill to the Coast Guard, who called in a private company to clean it up and then alerted the city, albeit several hours later.

Byers says B.C. doesn’t need identical plans, but does need similar protections.

The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 is an agreement between the United States and Canada which deals with, among other things, shipping and transportation rights across boundaries.

Read the the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909

Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909


It is more than interesting that American government officials and medical experts are expressing more and repeated concern about the high risks associated with BC oil spills than the provincial or federal governments (see the last three posts for more details on this).


Experts are warning that the relatively small English Bay oil spill is already having a major impact on herring-like fish, called surf smelt, that were once part of a large fishery and that the oil spill will impact Vancouver for years as oil suspended in the water column resurfaces due to wind or tidal action. Furthermore, while the Coast Guard might have cleaned up 80% of the visible oil spill, this is probably more like 15% of the actual spill because most of it is suspended below the surface or on the bottom and that over time this will reach the shoreline.

Now try to visualize what a tanker oil spill would do. 



The spawning of surf smelt, a miracle of nature that largely unfolds unnoticed on Vancouver’s beaches, was under way when a freighter accidentally spilled 2,800 litres of bunker fuel in English Bay.

Now, three weeks later, the deadly impact of that oil on smelt embryos is slowly coming into focus under the microscope of Ramona de Graaf, a marine biologist who is a leading expert on the small herring-like fish that live and die on the city’s shoreline without most people knowing they exist. ...

“These embryos are one millimetre in size. They are very tiny. They are on the surface of the beach,” said Ms. de Graaf, who has been retained by the Canadian Coast Guard and the ship owner to assess the damage of the spill. “We’re talking micrograms of petroleum products per litre [of sea water] is all that’s needed to kill these embryos.”

She is in the early stages of collecting samples of sand and gravel from 10 spawning beaches around Vancouver, where millions of tiny eggs are laid by surf smelt each spring. Surf smelt, once so numerous they supported a commercial fishery that harvested hundreds of tonnes annually, have grown increasingly rare, but still play a vital role in the marine food web, providing forage for many species and still supporting small commercial and recreational catches. During spawning runs they tumble ashore on waves, laying eggs in seconds before vanishing again into deeper water. Females carry up to 30,000 eggs, which they deposit in repeated events. Beaches can contain up to 1,000 eggs per square metre of sand.

In an interview, Ms. de Graaf said the spill, which hit several beaches, may have killed some of the eggs. Embryos die naturally, so to determine what mortality might be due to the spill she is comparing samples from fouled beaches with beaches that weren’t contaminated.

“I’m still processing all the data. I’ve got all the samples but I have to take them tablespoon by tablespoon under a microscope and pluck out all the embryos,” said Ms. de Graaf. “I can tell you briefly that there’s a difference between beaches that were not affected by the oil and beaches that were affected by the oil as far as the survivability of the embryos.”

Ms. de Graaf said she can’t release any findings until her research is completed, but she sounded worried by what she’s seeing.

“I just can’t tell you,” she said when asked how many smelt embryos might have perished. “But I think you can hear it in my voice.”

She was critical of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for not closing a recreational smelt fishery, saying the fish should be protected until the impact is known.

“Taking out the reproductive adults right now when the embryos have probably failed because of the oil spill [isn’t cautious],” she said. ...

Several days after the spill, the Coast Guard reported that 80 per cent of the oil had been recovered. But Anita Burke, an oil-spill response expert who worked on the Exxon Valdez cleanup, said rarely is more than 15 per cent of any spill ever recaptured.

“My experience tells me … they captured 80 per cent of what they could see, but how much sank?” she said.

Ms. Burke, who is speaking Wednesday night on a Simon Fraser University panel at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, said the impact of the Marathassa spill will be felt for years on Vancouver’s beaches because oil drifts suspended in the water column, or sinks to the bottom only to resurface because of wind or tidal action.




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NEB Grants Costco Late Request in Trans Mountain Review, Denied EPA Extension

The National Energy Board’s decision to grant Costco intervener status in its review of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline even though it had missed the deadline to apply is raising questions given that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was denied its request for an extension to the same deadline.

Costco submitted a late application to participate in the review of Kinder Morgan’s proposal to triple the capacity of its pipeline to Burnaby on April 9, 2015. The company argued that it received formal notice of the pipeline’s potential impacts on its Langley property on Feb. 4, 2015, when it was served with notice for land acquisition.

In a letter sent to all interveners, the National Energy Board wrote that Costco had provided sufficient reasons for the board to consider a late submission based on the fact “the project may cross Costco’s lands and it has the potential to be directly affected.”

American authorities are nervous about Kinder Morgan’s proposal to increase oil tanker traffic by a factor of seven through the shared waters off B.C.’s coast, particularly in light of the recent slow response to a small fuel spill in Vancouver Harbour.

“A catastrophic oil spill would set the Puget Sound clean-up effort back decades, and result in billions of dollars in harm to our economy and environment,” the state’s Ecology Department officials wrote to Washington Governor Jay Inslee in 2013 in documents obtained by the Globe and Mail.

The officials also raised red flags about Canada’s oil spill response capability, writing: “B.C. lacks authority over marine waters, and their federal regime is probably a couple of decades behind the system currently in place in Washington State. … When it is spilled, we are concerned that dilbit oil may be considerably more toxic and damaging, and far more difficult to clean up, than conventional crude from Alaska.”

The documents also indicate that American officials urged the U.S. to sue the NEB for barring the EPA from participating in the hearings on the grounds that it had missed the deadline to apply.

Ultimately, the EPA was granted a lower status as a “commenter,” which does not provide the same ability to provide sworn evidence or ask questions of the proponent.....


Anita Burke who worked for Shell on corporate responsibility and sustainable development (an oxymoron for fossil fuel firms) for 17 years, says that Western Canada Marine Response Corporation's (WCMRC) reponse to the English Bay oil is "embarrassing". WCMRC is a "completely funded by industry. Our shareholders are the 4 major oil companies (Imperial Oil, Shell Canada, Chevron and Suncor) and Trans Mountain pipelines".(

Furthermore, WCMRC is "legally required, by the Canada Shipping Act, to have the capacity to respond to a 10,000 tonne spill. It is currently capable of responding to a spill twice that size." (

Harper's replacement of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station and other Coast Guard stations with the oil industry's own firm has been and will be a disaster for the province. But, heh, it gives Harper a chance to reward his friends in the oil industry, where he first worked, a chance to make millions on government contracts and lift them out of the deep poverty in which we the oil industry exists. We certainly couldn't expect Harper to hold them monetarily or criminally responsible for a 2,700 L spill response just because they are legally responsible for 10,000 tonne spill and have said they could deal with a spill of 20,000 tonnes. Besides the Coast Guard, who else loses in this deal?


The response to the bunker fuel spill in Vancouver's English Bay was "very disappointing" says Anita Burke, an international expert in responding to and restoring ecosystems affected by industrial and natural disasters.

"We clearly have large gaps in our ability to respond and take care of our coast … it's embarrassing, frankly," said Burke, who worked with Shell and its subsidiaries on corporate responsibility and sustainable development for 17 years.

On April 8, an estimated 2,700 litres of oil leaked from the MV Marathassa into English Bay. The Coast Guard has been criticized for the time it took to respond to the spill

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation — the company tasked with cleanup arrived on site more than four hours after the Coast Guard had been notified, and booms weren't fully secured around the cargo ship until more than 12 hours after the call. ...

"The industrial standard — what we've been held to for many years — is anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour," Burke told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"The clear reporting channels were non-existent and it compromised the response. The emergency response by the vessel itself was non-existent."

The Canadian Coast Guard disputed Burke's claim. 

"Our partners responded within international standards. We sent vessels within 25 minutes to inspect the report, and skimmers were on the water within four hours to contain the substance," it said in an emailed statement.

By 5:53 a.m. the next morning, 1,100 metres of boom were securely placed around the hull, and 80 per cent of the pollution was contained and recovered."

'We haven't defined what cleanup is'

The federal government has said 80 per cent of the fuel spill was cleaned up and contained within 36 hours, but Burke would like to see the information behind those numbers.

"I've responded to some of the largest oil spills in the world and within industry we are real happy if we get anywhere from 15 to 20 per cent," said Burke.

"I don't even know that we have full cleanup. We haven't defined what cleanup is. We don't have the total volumes. There's still oil showing up on the beaches," she said.

Burke said officials need to bolster their ability to respond to spills before expanding tanker traffic through English Bay. She is also adding her voice to calls to re-open the Kitsilano Coast Guard station.

"While this spill is relatively small, no spill is not worth paying attention to. It's a good wake-up call."





Thanks to the Cons, there are a lot of questions we don't have an answer to with regard to the English Bay oil spill. The following article raises some of these questions and then discusses them in more detail. I've highlighted the questions this particular article raises.



Late Saturday afternoon, Transport Canada officially cleared the Marathassa to leave Canadian waters. As it slowly moves out of the Salish Sea, the bulk carrier leaves angry mayors, a combative coast guard, a distrustful public and many, many questions in its wake.

Even U.S. authorities are anxiously looking north wondering if Canada knows anything about marine oil spill response. 

What we know about this spill is important, but there’s a lot more we don’t know, and might never know, about what happened in English Bay.

We Don't Know the Total Volume of Fuel Spilled, and Maybe Never Will  ...

Would an Operational Kits Coast Guard Station Have Helped? ...

We Don’t Know Who is Responsible for Monitoring Burrard Inlet for Long-term Spill Impacts ...

WWKMD? We Don’t Know What Kinder Morgan Would Do Differently





The economic, environmental, personal and social costs of a major oil spill are rarely discussed as clearly and in as much detail as below.



The City of Vancouver passed a motion this month demanding that Kinder Morgan pipeline company carry full liability to cover the costs of an oil spill in our Vancouver Harbour. The request is just common sense but demonstrated very uncommon courage in the public political realm.

So, how much liability would Kinder Morgan – the now notorious ex-Enron billionaires from Texas, who bought BC Gas and flipped it for the pipelines – need to carry to indemnify our city from the ravages of an oil spill?

Well, for starters, some $40 billion, as I explain below. But let’s keep in mind: there is no such thing as “cleaning up” an oil spill. Most “clean ups” get about 10 percent of the oil spilled, like the way a 3-year-old “cleans up” milk spilled on the kitchen floor. ...

Economic costs of an oil spill

The Aframax tankers now using Vancouver Harbour carry up to 700,000 barrels of bitumen, the deadliest crude oil on Earth. To estimate the costs of responding to such a spill, one must examine comparable costs for similar accidents. One method uses the historic “costs/barrel” for responding to oil spills.

The Exxon Valdez spilled 270,000 barrels, about one-third of an Aframax tanker. The Alaska tourism industry lost 26,000 jobs and $2.4 billion immediately – and another $2.8 billion over the next decade. Total loss for tourism alone: $5.2 billion. ...

British Petroleum set aside $20 billion for clean up and compensation in the Gulf of Mexico, but Credit Suisse estimated total BP liabilities of $37 billion, just for cleanup and injury claims.

So, who pays this cost? Exxon has been in and out of court for 23 years over the Exxon Valdez spill, and still hasn’t paid its liability claims. BP is fighting injury claims, but in Vancouver Harbour there may be no such company that would even accept liability. The oil companies – Shell, Syncrude, Sinopec – and pipeline company Kinder Morgan have already indemnified themselves and would decline liability once the oil is on a ship. The ship owner has liability by Canadian marine law, but these days oil tankers are owned by obscure numbered companies with few assets, in slippery jurisdictions, where they can and literally do disappear overnight in the case of serious accidents.

The response costs would fall to Canadians – municipalities, the Province, the Federal government – that is, to the people. Imagine a $40 billion Canadian bill to mop up 10% of a marine and economic disaster, while our schools and social programs disintegrate.

Bitumen’s abrasive personality

Consider a 500,000-barrel bitumen oil spill in Burrard Inlet, 70% of an Aframax tanker. Globally, there has been an oil spill of this size about every 18 months worldwide for the last 40 years. ...

In July 2010, a 30-inch bitumen pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy – that other pipeline outfit angling for the BC coast – burst, spilling 20,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The challenges of dealing with the heavy, sinking bitumen shocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which Mitchell Anderson wrote about in the Tyee.

Costs of even partial cleanup soared to more than ten times historic crude oil costs. “I don’t think anyone at the state level anticipated that,” said EPA Incident Commander, Ralph Dollhopf. “I don’t think anyone at the EPA anticipated that. I don’t think anyone in industry anticipated that.”

Bitumen, diluted with solvents such as condensate or naphtha, separates in the marine environment. Volatile gases – toluene and the carcinogenic benzene – rise into the air, causing headaches, nausea, dizziness, coughing, and fatigue among the local population. One may fairly assume all other animals that breathe air experience similar symptoms.

After the Kalamazoo River spill, the toxic fumes remained for weeks and could be smelled up to 50 kilometres away. A major Aframax spill in Burrard Inlet – 25-times larger than in Michigan – would likely require evacuations in the lower BC mainland and islands. Clean up crews would battle toxic fumes as they watched the bitumen sink below their skimmers.

Bitumen contains sulphur, paraffins, asphaltics, benzenes, and other toxic compounds. Animals and plants are suffocated and poisoned. The die-off starts at the foundation of the food chain, obliterating the vital mudflat biofilm – the bacteria, diatoms, and mucopolysaccharides that provide a high-energy food source for shorebirds in Burrard Inlet and Georgia Strait. As the bitumen moves with wind and tides, it kills all bottom life, mixes with the intertidal sediments, and kills shellfish, ocean plants, fin fish, and marine mammals.

On top of this, the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (“PAHs”) in bitumen, dissolve in the water. Two years after the Michigan spill, 30 miles of the Kalamazoo River remained closed to fishing, swimming, or even wading in the water.

After a bitumen spill in Burrard Inlet, the toxins would contaminate the entire marine ecosystem from Seattle to Campbell River, and beyond. Most of this damage could not be “cleaned up” at any price

Show me the money

Cleanup: According to the US EPA, historic U.S. crude oil cleanup costs have been about $80/gallon ($3,400 per barrel). The added problems with tar sands bitumen – toxic gas, sinking sludge, and soluble hydrocarbons – push costs up. The Kalamazoo River spill by Enbridge cost 10 times the traditional crude oil clean up costs – about $35,000 per barrel. Comparatively, the cleanup response to a 500,000-barrel bitumen spill in Burrard Inlet would be:  $ 17 billion

Tourism losses: “Tourism is dead,” said Charlotte Randolph, president of the Lafourche Parish in Louisiana, after the Gulf Oil spill. “We’re dying a slow death.” Oxford Economics estimated the Gulf region’s tourism industry would lose $7.6 to $22.7 billion over 3 years. Tourism dropped by 35 percent in some Gulf regions. ... BC brings in $14 billion annually in tourism, and we could lose half of this for 2-4 years, so added to the clean-up costs would be the tourism loss to BC over several years, on the order of: $ 20 billion

Fishing:  ... B.C. fisherman Ron Fowler, a Pacific Salmon Commissioner and Director of the Area-F Trollers Association. “If we get an oil spill anywhere in these waters, it would wipe out every fishery we have, shellfish, salmon, herring, and the plankton that they feed on. ...

The BC fishing industry wholesale value is about $1.2 billion per year. An oil spill on the coast could destroy a large portion of this for 3-4 years and some shoreline intertidal fisheries for a decade or more. ... The potential fisheries loss over several years is in the range of: $ 1 billion

Health costs: Some first responders in Alaska still suffer from the toxic intake. Bitumen is worse. In Michigan, the volatile benzene and toluene caused nausea, dizziness, headaches, coughing, and fatigue to some 60% of the local population for weeks after the spill. The health department encouraged an evacuation within a mile of the river. As with other oil spills, there will be a spike of cancer and other diseases. A 500,000-barrel bitumen spill in Burrard Inlet would likely cause a mass evacuation and severe health impact for over a million people. The costs could easily reach:$ 1 billion

Lost Time: The lost time for families, students, workers, business owners, and  others in the lower mainland and up to 50 kilometers way, likely farther up the Fraser River past Fort Langley, and south past Whiterock, would be massive. ... Cost: $ 1 billion

Port losses: An oil spill would disrupt Port of Vancouver shipping business. ... Cost: $ 1 billion

So there it is, in round figures: a $41 billion price tag for an oil spill, with no one to accept liability except a renegade shipping company in Somalia or the Cayman Islands.

Vancouver and BC brand value: The “Beautiful BC” and “greenest city” reputations would be lost. How much is that worth? Billions more. Stanley Park would be devastated. How do we put a price tag on that? The lost reputation and destroyed ecosystems – if we could even place a dollar-cost on these losses – would double the $40 billion direct costs to make the loss more like $80 billion.

This is the aggregate risk that the Vancouver region must accept if it wants to be the Tar Sands Oil Port in exchange for some tugboat jobs, port fees, consulting gigs, and payoffs.

Normal spillage

All oil ports have oil spills. Most oil spilled into the world’s bays, harbours, and marine environments is “normal spillage,” acknowledged by the industry as a routine “expense,” which they write off as a tax deduction.

Oil terminal workers have admitted that they spill oil virtually every time they load a tanker. Every time. ... Try going east of Second Narrows, near Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Terminal and find a healthy clam or crab.

This Inlet once fed the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsawwassen people, who retain rights to this unceded territory. ... That food resource is already virtually eradicated from the normal spillage from the oil refinery and terminal on Burrard Inlet. ...

What price would one place on this? What price for the obliterated natural livelihood of indigenous people, our regional heritage, our marine and intertidal ecosystems, our coastal economy, and our community identity and pride in the sea? ...






Harper's Cons are closing the Vancouver Marine Communications Centre today, which acts as a 911 call centre for mariners despite the fact that the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station meant the English Bay oil spill was much worse than it would have been if the Kitsilano station had been able to respond in a few minutes rather than the 6 hours it took the oil industries subsidiary to respond.

The Cons are so ideological and arrogant that no amount of evidence can change their minds. Remind you of Jim Prentice? Oh! He was one of them. The Cons deserve the same fate as Prentice. 


Unifor B.C. area director Gavin McGarrigle, representing workers at the centre, said the closure of the 2380 W. Hastings St. Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centre would only save government $700,000 — but cost the Coast Guard their eyes and ears in the Vancouver harbour.

“They provide vessel traffic services — like air traffic control — communications and co-ordinations to detect distress situations,” he said.

“It’s a 911 centre for mariners. They also broadcast maritime safety information, screen vessels, provide marine information to other government departments and agencies.”

McGarrigle said future maritime communicatons would be directed out of Victoria instead.

“What we’ve got is the ability to have people that are there that can be on the ground looking out for people,” he said.

“There are times when you need the ability to see into the harbour and be close at hand to be able to respond quicker.”

McGarrigle said eliminating the centre would leave just the Victoria and Prince Rupert centres — and those can fail, as witnessed earlier this month when the Prince Rupert station suffered a blackout and Victoria had to substitute.

“(That was) the equivalent of 911 being out of service from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border,” he said.




ETA: There will be a rally to protest the closure of the Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centres today (May 6th) frin 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM at the foot of Whyte Avenue in Vancouver near the Jericho Sailing Centre.


Join Unifor, PSAC, the BC Fed and affiliates to protest the closure of this vital facility. Tell Stephen Harper to invest in coast guard and protect our coasts!


For map of the location of the protest click on:,+1300+Discovery+...@49.275101,-123.200451,17z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x548672f5d2d941a9:0x2c48f30dfa65e94c






Jerry Dias, President of Unifor, and Chad Stroud, president of Unifor 212, as well as other union leaders, were among some of the protesters who warned at the rally in Vancouver on May 6th that the Cons' closing of the Vancouver and other Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centres across Canada could cost lives.  

The second url includes a video of the protest.


Closing three of five federal centres responsible for directing commercial marine traffic on the West Coast, including one in Vancouver, will make it more difficult to respond to disasters, opponents of the closures told a rally Wednesday.

“Without a monitoring station in Canada’s busiest port, our ability to respond to future oil spills becomes that much more difficult,” said Jerry Dias, president of the Unifor union. He said Ottawa’s move to consolidate its Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres means “tens and tens of thousands of British Columbians” who live along the coast could be endangered. Dias and other union speakers who addressed the rally at the now-shuttered Coast Guard base at Kits Point in Vancouver urged the federal government to reopen the base and the three MCTS centres it announced in 2012 it was closing.

The MCTS centres provide safety communications, including co-ordinating rescue resources, marine traffic services and weather broadcasts for commercial marine traffic. ...

The Tofino centre (which was in Ucluelet) was closed last month, the Comox centre is scheduled to close early next year and the Vancouver centre, at 555 West Hastings Street, officially closed on Wednesday.

Marine traffic for the coast will be controlled remotely by the two remaining centres, in Victoria and Prince Rupert. The centres direct tankers, ferries and cruise ships in B.C. waters. The closures don’t directly affect pleasure craft. The department of fisheries and oceans has closed 10 centres across the country and said it’s part of a nationwide plan to consolidate and upgrade the technology at the remaining 12 centres.

Chris MacKay, a retired member of the now-closed Kits Point Coast Guard search and rescue team who attended the rally in a partial uniform, said he was worried about the waters being controlled through cameras and computers kilometres away.

“There’s nothing like eyes on the situation,” MacKay said, as others around him waved flags with union logos and slogans saying Protect our Coastal Waters. “Technology can fail at any time.”

The union speakers raised safety concerns, particularly in light of the recent spill of 17 barrels of oil from a tanker in English Bay, and frequently referenced the upcoming federal election and the NDP win in the Alberta election the night before to large cheers from the crowd.

 As part of a previously announced reorganization plan, the federal government is shuttering 10 of the Coast Guard’s 22 Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres, including locations in Vancouver, Tofino and Comox.

Those three will be merged at one MCTS centre in Victoria, a move union members warn will unnecessarily put lives at risk.

Chad Stroud, president of Unifor 212, said having multiple stations monitoring for distress calls simultaneously ensures none are missed.

“There’s a lot of traffic on the radio,” Stroud said. “We’re really concerned that with everything going on, and somebody yells those specific words – ‘Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!’ – we might not be able to hear it because we don’t have that redundancy of two people in two different centres listening.”


When NDP MP Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby-Douglas) pointed out last year that Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline total volume of spills was greater than the disastrous Kalamazoo, Michigan, spill, Kinder Morgan's answer was that this was a ridiculous comparison. This is like saying it's okay to release more carbon dioxide into the environment than in one big release, if it's done in small amounts each time. This attitude, which parallels that of the Cons with regard to the English Bay spill, inspires such confidence in the fossil fuel industry and our provincial and federal governments.



Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil spill infographic map - NDP MP Kennedy Stuart

Ducks dying, a Kalamazoo River blackened with oil, and haz-mat workers vacuuming sticky sediments in the worst land pipeline spill in U.S. history -- not the visuals Kinder Morgan wants to be associated with, especially when it had nothing to do with the disaster.

"It's a stupid comparison," bristled Kinder Morgan vice president Hugh Harden from Calgary on Wednesday.

The oil executive in charge of Trans Mountain pipeline's operations was reacting to a new pipeline spill analysis from Burnaby Member of Parliament, Kennedy Stuart.  

The outspoken MP, well known for his opposition to Kinder Morgan’s $5-billion proposal to now expand the Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline, released new federal data on the existing pipeline's spills.  The NEB records date back more than half a century, and show the total volume released by Trans Mountain was 40,000 barrels.

The Kalamazoo disaster by Enbridge released 20,000 barrels.  

“Over the lifetime of this [Trans Mountain] pipeline, it’s leaked double the amount of the Kalamazoo spill,” said Stewart on Wednesday.
 “I think when you make that comparison, I think you start to say, ‘what a serious amount of oil and oil products this actually is.”
 Stuart's office also issued a map graphic showing Trans Mountain's top 10 spills, with the largest three near Edmonton in 1985, 1977 and 1966.




epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Enbridge, Michigan reach settlement over 2010 oil spill

Enbridge Inc. has reached a settlement with the state of Michigan nearly five years after a broken pipeline spilled more than three million litres of oil into wetlands and the Kalamazoo River.


The cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, as well as the Tsleil-Wauthth First Nation, have commissioned an modelling analysis of the effects of a major oil spill on the regions shoreline that concluded it would be severely coated in crude oil in just hours.

ETA: Unfortunately, despite the significant environmental damage caused by the English Bay oil spill of only 2700 litres in April, their plan to present it to the National Energy Board (NEB) will accomplish nothing as the Cons have rigged the NEB process to approve the Kinder Morgan pipeline.



A proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline would triple output and is projected to increase tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet to 34 vessels each month, which the cities and First Nation claim heightens the risk of a spill.

The modelling by Genwest Systems Inc. includes animation scenarios showing that between 50 per cent and 90 per cent of the oil would reach shores — based on a spill of 20 per cent of an average tanker. ...

The analysis will be submitted to the National Energy Board during environmental review hearings for the Trans Mountain proposal later this month.





The CBC article below includes a video showing how, thanks to tides etc., an oil spill in the Burrard Inlet of Vancouver would spread in a matter of hours along most of Metro Vancouver's beaches.



The computer modelling by Genwest Systems Inc., from Edmonds, Wa, looked at the potential trajectory of an oil spill occurring in the inlet. The package of information was gathered together to fight Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the rise in tanker traffic the proposed pipeline would bring to the area.

"What we learned from that modelling,was that [within] hours— not days—hours, 50 to 90 per cent of the oil that spilled would reach the shorelines of cities, municipalities, First Nations —all across the  Burrard Inlet," Vancouver's deputy mayor, Andrea Reimer told CBC News.

Genwest was asked to measure what would happen if 16 million litres of oil — just 20 per cent of a tanker's load — spilled into the water near the Lions Gate Bridge.



ETA: It is ironic that the day before Christy Clark is to announce a memorandum of understanding with Petronas on a LNG pipeline and terminal near Prince Rupert, a major oil spill from a pipeline occurred off Santa Barbara, California, triggering memories of the third largest oil spill in history, which occurred off Santa Barbara in 1969. That spill led to California banning ocean oil drilling off its coast and the creation of Earth Day. A Petronas pipeline or tanker spill would make the English Bay oil spill look like the spill from a turned-over lawn mower.



A broken onshore pipeline spewed oil down a storm drain and into the Pacific Ocean for several hours before it was shut off, creating a slick some 4 miles long across a scenic stretch of central California coastline, officials said.

Initial estimates put the spill at about 21,000 gallons Tuesday, but that figure would likely change after a Wednesday morning flyover gave a better sense of the spill's scope, U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Jennifer Williams said.

The spill was about 20 miles northwest of the pricey seaside real estate of Santa Barbara, and the Coast Guard said overnight winds were likely to push it 2 to 4 miles closer.

california oil spill



The Santa Barbara oil spill occurred in January and February 1969 in the Santa Barbara Channel, near the city of Santa Barbara in Southern California. It was the largest oil spill in United States waters at the time, and now ranks third after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon and 1989 Exxon Valdez spills. It remains the largest oil spill to have occurred in the waters off California.

The source of the spill was a blow-out on January 28, 1969, 6 miles (10 km) from the coast on Union Oil's Platform A in the Dos Cuadras Offshore Oil Field. Within a ten-day period, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 barrels (13,000 to 16,000 m3)[1] of crude oil spilled into the Channel and onto the beaches of Santa Barbara County in Southern California, fouling the coastline from Goleta to Ventura as well as the northern shores of the four northern Channel Islands. The spill had a significant impact on marine life in the Channel, killing an estimated 3,500 sea birds,[2] as well as marine animals such as dolphins, elephant seals, and sea lions. The public outrage engendered by the spill, which received prominent media coverage in the United States, resulted in numerous pieces of environmental legislation within the next several years, legislation that forms the legal and regulatory framework for the modern environmental movement in the U.S.




In characteristic Christy Clark damn-the-torpedos fashion, typified by her ripping up of collective agreements with the teachers' union (BCTF) on working conditions and almost 15 years of court cases that is now scheduled to go the Supreme Court of Canada, Christy is scheduled to announce a memorandum of understanding with Petronas on a LNG pipeline and plant.

ETA: Her approach sounds great during election campaigns, but then you have to live with the consequences. That's why she was only able to garner the support of one other Liberal MLA during her leadership run, winning only because she is a formidable speaker able to win over the party members and the electorate. The public had forgotten her failures during the several years she left the Liberal party to become a political talk show host as the controversies mounted. However, her own MLAs, who knew the wreck she created in the Education Ministry were not willing to support her when she ran for the Liberal party leadership, except for Harry Bloy, who was considered a laughing stock and proved it when Christy made him a minster. ("Bloy announced his resignation from cabinet in March 2012 after admitting he leaked, to a private company, an email the government had received from a newspaper." )


B.C. Premier Christy Clark is scheduled to make an announcement Wednesday on "progress in the development of B.C.'s liquified natural gas industry," which media reports say is a memorandum of understanding with Malaysia's Petronas.

Clark won the 2014 provincial election in part on the promise of fostering an LNG industry that would create tens of thousands of jobs and wipe out B.C.'s debt, but the government's plan has fallen behind schedule.

Petronas is behind one of the LNG facilities proposed on B.C's northwest coast, which has government backing but has run into difficulties securing First Nations support.

Pacific NorthWest LNG, a majority of which is owned by Petronas, hasproposed to build a pipeline and terminal in the Lax Kw'alaams Band territory on Lelu Island just south of Prince Rupert, B.C.

However, last week the Lax Kw'alaams band rejected an offer of more than $1 billion in exchange for its consent on the project.




Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robetson is calling on people during the review of the English Bay oil spill to demand the restoration of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station and communication centres to help protect the marine environment. 


After the Coast Guard promised to conduct a review of its actions during last month’s oil spill, Vancouver’s mayor says people living in the city also need to play a role in that review.

Mayor Gregor Robertson spoke to Shane Woodford on The Sean Leslie Show earlier today.

He called on politicians and key people living in the city to weigh in on cuts surrounding the Coast Guard.

“It’s really up to the rest of us. We need the funding restored to the Coast Guard, the Marine communication centre that was moved out of Vancouver and the oil spill response centre that was closed down here. These are closures and cuts that are totally unacceptable.”

“We lost the Kits Coast Guard Base, we’ve seen them have problems with the marine radio emergency network, those kind of failings are due to a lack of resources and support from the federal government.”

The Coast Guard promises the review will be completed by the end of July.



epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Pipeline spill on California coast reaches all the way to Canada

The oil slick washing up on southern California beaches is only a few kilometres long, but its impact extends all the way to Canada.

A rupture in a pipeline operated by Plains All American Pipeline this week spilled an estimated 2,500 barrels of oil — with about 500 barrels of sticky crude flowing into the Pacific Ocean — in what the Houston-based company has suggested is a worst-case scenario.

It will take time to determine the exact volume spilled.

As discouraging as 15 kilometres of ocean beaches awash in pungent black oil may be, the worst-case scenario for the oil industry extends far beyond the state of emergency California Gov. Jerry Brown declared in the Santa Barbara area near Los Angeles.

The relatively minor spill will impact the debate over oil pipelines and tidewater ports for super tankers more than 2,000 kilometres north in British Columbia....


The Tsleil-Waututh First Nation has released an environmental assessment report that shows how risky the proposed tripling of the Kinder Morgan pipeline is for themselves and other Vancouver area residents. Furthermore, the stidy shows that Kinder Morgan has significantly underestimated the risk of a spill that is much greater than the English Bay oil spill last month. The First Nation's reserve is located less than two kilometres across Burrard Inlet from Kinder Morgan Canada’s Westridge oil tanker terminal. It plans to use the sudy to take legal action to prevent the pipeline from being completed.


Likelihood of an oil spill in Burrard Inlet over 50 years is 87 per cent, study claims ...

The 90-page assessment, released Tuesday by the 570-member Tsleil-Waututh First Nation of North Vancouver, includes scientific research that says Kinder Morgan has underestimated the environmental and public health risks of oil spills in Burrard Inlet.

“The assessment lays out the profound impacts of the project on Tsleil-Waututh title and rights, thus setting the stage for litigation that could delay or derail” the expansion, according to the analysis by six law professors, including the University of B.C.’s Gordon Christie. ...

Levelton Consultants of Richmond warned that more than one million residents around Burrard Inlet “are at risk of acute health effects from toxic air emissions from a worst-case oil spill.”

Grand Chief Philip Stewart said the study by the Tseil-Waututh backs up the risks and he is “absolutely confident” the pipeline expansion won’t go ahead. “Indigenous people have been saying no for a very long time. Now we have more legal tools to fight and oppose these.”

Scott Smith, a lawyer for the Tsleil-Waututh, said it will be difficult for Kinder Morgan to proceed without consent of the First Nation given the recent Supreme Court decision.




The following article discusses the long-term effects of oil spills in general, as well as the English Bay oil spill in particular. Despite the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska causing tumours, chronic health problems and the disapperance of species from the ecosystem even dedades later, our understanding of the long-term effects of oil spills on ecosystems is quite limited.

ETA: Why? The fossil fuel industry, many politicians and a substantial part of the public don't want to have this evidence gathered because it woulld likley interfere with their profits and/or lifestyle.



Compared to catastrophic tanker spills like the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, Vancouver’s recent oil spill was almost diminutive in size. An estimated 2700 to 5000 litres7 of Bunker C oil spilled into the harbour – a drop in the bucket beside the Exxon Valdez’s loss of 11 to 38 million US gallons (41 to 144 million litres) of crude oil. But even small quantities of the highly toxic Bunker C oil may seriously impact the harbour ecosystem. According to NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), very heavy oils like Bunker C can persist in the environment for months or even years. In the short term, these heavy oils smother marine organisms while the long term effects of toxicity may cause tumours and chronic health problems in some organisms. Twenty six years later, the herring population in Valdez, for example, has yet to recover. ...

Intertidal habitats are especially vulnerable to an oil spill. In Stanley Park, the zone between high and low tide stretches nearly nine kilometers across rocky, cobble and sand beaches supporting a food web of bacteria and protozoa, plankton, sponges, worms, seaweeds (including extensive kelp forests), crustaceans, mollusks, and fish . The Park’s great blue herons, eagles, river otters, shore birds and sea ducks are all a part of this web. On the western shoreline by Siwash Rock, mussel beds provide food for a globally significant population of wintering Barrow’s Goldeneye and thousands of blue-listed Surf Scoters. An oil spill several kilometers away from Stanley Park could devastate local bird populations like these. The oil not only mats the birds’ feathers exposing them to hypothermia, but smothers and poisons the fragile food web on which they, and all the intertidal life, depend. ...

Any effects of the April 8 oil spill on Stanley Park’s shoreline ecosystem may not manifest themselves for some time as the toxins from the Bunker C oil work their way through the food web. In order to recognize any negative impacts on the shoreline ecosystem, we must first understand what a healthy intertidal system looks like. But, to date no thorough surveys of the Park’s intertidal and subtidal zones have been conducted. This baseline information would enable us track the health of the ecosystem over time and recognize any negative impacts resulting from an oil spill or other environmental disaster. ...

The reality is 26 years after the devastating Exxon Valdez spill, oil spill knowledge and clean up technologies have advanced little. Today’s unconventional oils, like Bitumen and the Bunker C fuel spilled into English Bay, are non-buoyant. Traditional surface-focused oil spill response is, in most cases, ineffective against these highly toxic, heavy, viscous oils. The devastation Vancouver’s harbour and Stanley Park could face in the wake of a more substantial oil spill is immense. In an oil port, Anita M. Burke believes it is inevitable.



epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Come Toast the Coast to send message to Harper: 'Beaches are for people, not oil'

Live bands and a rap battle roasting Prime Minister Stephen Harper are among the draws at Come Toast the Coast, at Jericho Beach on Sunday, June 13.

The “family-friendly” beachside celebration of Vancouver’s pristine coastline is planned to send a message to the Feds that people — not oil — belong on these beaches. A nine-foot floating lantern based on the design of Roy Henry Vickers is planned, as well as live painting, food trucks, and hands-on art installations.

Following a territorial welcome a few speakers will shed light on the reason for the one-day, no-waste event (ie. bring your own utensils and water bottles) complete with bicycle valet. More information is available at ( #toastthecoast)

Partner organizations include:

Pull Together 
David Suzuki Foundation
Tankerfree BC
Georgia Straight Alliance 
ForestEthics Advocacy 
Dogwood initiative
Join the Circle
Living Oceans
Check Your head
The Starfish
Kids for Climate Action 
Our Horizon


On June 14th, a diesel fuel spill of still unknown size occurred near Fisherman's Wharf in Vancouver's False Creek. Once again the cleanup is being done by Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC). As a result of the spill, the seawall around Stanley Park is closed, residents are advised to close their windows, and while diesel fuel evaporates fast this means it is in the air causing respiratory problems. 

The WCMRC website states, which is completely funded by industry. Our shareholders are the 4 major oil companies (Imperial Oil, Shell Canada, Chevron and Suncor) and Trans Mountain pipelines." ( So the fossil fuel industry gets paid for making the spills and for cleaning them up. Nice work if you can get it. 



The spill was first reported to the Canadian Coast Guard around 10:30 p.m. PT Sunday.

The Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, which is contracted to clean up oil spills in the harbour, arrived at around 3:30 a.m. PT Monday and laid out about 300 metres of booms to contain the spill, according to a coast guard spokesman.

False Creek fuel spill

Oil booms have been laid out to contain the spill. (Canadian Coast Guard/Twitter)

Mechanical skimmers were deployed to scoop up the fuel and a helicopter flew over the spill to confirm the areas with the highest concentration of fuel have been contained.

City officials say it is difficult to estimate the size of the spill, which could be from 30 to 1,000 litres of what appears to be diesel fuel.

The source has not been determined, but the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Department determined the fuel did not come from a source on land, leading officials to believe the source was likely a boat in the area around Granville Island.

Transport Canada is expected to conduct an investigation to determine the exact source of the spill.

Seawall path closed

The seawall path has been closed in the area between the Granville and Burrard bridges and boaters are asked to avoid the boomed area until the spill is cleaned up.

Residents are also advised to close windows and doors to keep the smell out.

Despite the strong smell, the spill is unlikely to have any lasting impacts on the environment or people, said officials.

"Diesel is a non-persistent oil and evaporates quite fast, about 75 per cent of it in 72 hours would evaporate, and that's why we have a strong smell in the air on such a hot day," said coast guard spokesman Jeff Brady.

"We're going to have a lot of evaporation which is good for getting it out of the marine environment, but might be bad for people in the area who might have scratchy eyes or scratchy throat possibly."




On June 13th, the day before the new Vancouver oil spill, the Come Toast the Coast protest was held at Jericho Beach in Vancouver to send a message to Harper that Vancouver beaches and its environment are for people not oil. The new oil spill (see previous post) simply reinforces the message of Come Toast the Coast.

The website below has a wide range of videos on the Come Toast the Coast protest.



The spill was first reported to the Canadian Coast Guard around 10:30 p.m. PT Sunday.

The Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, which is contracted to clean up oil spills in the harbour, arrived at around 3:30 a.m. PT

So a five-hour delay this time.

BC not ready for major oil spill, minister admits after Vancouver diesel spill




The BC provincial government has finally woken up to the risk of hazardous spills on the west coast. However, their solution does not involve limiting in any way the amount of hazardous material being transported. In fact, environment minister Mary Polak announced the government intends to create an industry-funded organization, similar to the West Coast Marine Response Organization, the fossil fuel funded and run company that did such a terrible job of cleaning up the English Bay and False Creek spills. It's good to know that the BC Liberals have such faith in free enterprise over such public servants as the Coast Guard.



British Columbia is unprepared for a major land-based, hazardous-material spill because current rules and regulations are outdated — and that needs to change, says the province's environment minister. ...

The minister said the provincially certified, industry-funded organization will be able to start containing and co-ordinating cleanup of a spill quicker than current crews.

Polak compared the team to West Coast Marine Response Organization, an agency contracted by the federal government to contain and clean up marine spills.


A report on the English Bay oil spill in April released Friday made 25 recommendations. The report also emphasized the denial of the ship owners to admit their ship was responsible for the spill and the need for additional Coast Guard personnel to be on duty to deal with problems in Vancouver's harbour. In other words, Harper's cutbacks to the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station are partly responsible for this spill and will continue to be in the future.  

It is not so coincidental that as a federal election is being called by the Harper Cons, the mainstream media has provided almost no coverage on this issue, even in Vancouver.



Misunderstandings, uncertainty and technical difficulties slowed the emergency response to a toxic fuel spill in Vancouver's English Bay by nearly two hours, a review has found. The review released Friday also found that Canadian Coast Guard staff were unsure of their roles and a faulty provincial alert system meant the city was not notified until 12 hours later. ...

"The response was delayed by one hour and 49 minutes due to confusion of roles and responsibilities, miscommunications and technology issues."

The report was commissioned by the coast guard after a malfunction on the grain carrier MV Marathassa caused about 2,700 litres of bunker fuel to spill into the bay on April 8. Butler, a former coast guard assistant commissioner, conducted the review and made 25 recommendations on how future marine spills could be handled differently.

He detailed a string of misunderstandings between the coast guard, Port Metro Vancouver and the organization tasked with cleanup, the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation. ...

The coast guard lacked the capacity to respond because many workers were just demobilizing from an operation in the Grenville Channel at the time. Butler called for the agency to ensure it always has enough staff to respond to a major marine-pollution incident.

Butler's report also revealed that front-line coast guard staff were not aware of a long-standing agreement with Port Metro Vancouver that clearly sets out responsibilities. He blamed high turnover and poor training for the oversight. ...

Further, Butler said denial by the owners of the MV Marathassa that the vessel was leaking fuel delayed recognition of the spill's magnitude.



jerrym wrote:

Jerry Dias, President of Unifor, and Chad Stroud, president of Unifor 212, as well as other union leaders, were among some of the protesters who warned at the rally in Vancouver on May 6th that the Cons' closing of the Vancouver and other Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centres across Canada could cost lives. 


Just noticed this (late, sorry) - it's actually Unifor Local 2182, not 212. I realize it's not your mistake, jerrym, it's CTV which got it wrong.

Fun fact: They picked their local number based on the international calling and distress frequency for marine radiotelephone communications - 2182 kHz.

Now back to the thread. And someone please remind me whether the other parties have made any commitments to save coast guard search and rescue and/or marine communications and traffic services stations?



Thanks, jerrym!


Unionist wrote:

And someone please remind me whether the other parties have made any commitments to save coast guard search and rescue and/or marine communications and traffic services stations?



ETA: Both the NDP and the Liberals have promised to reopen the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station. The NDP is also promising to reopen the closed Coast Guard communication centres in Ucluelet, Vancouver and Comox, which are vitally important to marine traffic, as well as human and environmental safety along the west coast



The failure to have a quick response to the Marathassa oil spill into English Bay not only resulted in environmental damage to this beach but to many others in Vancouver, according to a forensic analysis of other beaches. This further demonstrates the need for the reopening of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, as well as the closed Coast Guard communication centres in Ucluelet, Vancouver and Comox, in the second busiest port on the West Coast of North America and for strong restrictions on the shipping of fossil fuels. 



Scientists have conclusively linked oil that washed up along numerous Vancouver beaches with the grain container ship that leaked bunker fuel in English Bay in April.

Testing by researchers from the Vancouver Aquarium also shows that the fuel may have harmed aquatic organisms and wildlife in the water and along the shores.

Peter Ross of the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Research Program and his team did a detailed forensic analysis of the oil from the MV Marathassa, looking at more than 100 hydrocarbons that create a unique so-called fingerprint. ...

The results prove the oil reached several shores in Vancouver including New Brighton Beach about 12 kilometres away from the spill down the Burrard Inlet. ...

There may be negative impacts on a specie's reproduction or growth, or higher mortality rates, Ross said.