Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2017

Robert Lyman is an Ottawa energy policy consultant and former public servant of 27 years, prior to that he was a diplomat for 10 years.

Here is an interesting tidbit relevant to the current British Columbia position that the resources are not available to deal with a potential oil spill off the west coast. The standard for response capability related to a potential marine oil spill is 10,000 tonnes across Canada. Why 10,000 tonnes? Because that is equivalent to the largest oil spill in Canadian history, which occurred about 50 years ago. No spill in the last 40 years comes anywhere close to that total, and the Canadian and international requirement of double-hulled tankers makes it extremely unlikely that it will ever happen again. Yet, the environmentalists on the west coast whine constantly that the response standard is not high enough. In its submission to the Tanker Safety Expert Panel (TSEP) in 2013, the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation provided information on several topics, including the present capacity of its equipment to deal with west coast spills. It stated that, even though the standard is 10,000 tonnes, it has a present capacity (i.e. in 2013) of about 26,000 tonnes and is continuing to grow! This is an extremely important counterpoint to the claims of the B.C government, only discovered if one trolls the depths of technical detail. So, the present private sector capacity for dealing with an oil spill off the west coast is two and a half times higher than anywhere else in Canada, and that does not even count the resources of the Canadian Coast Guard, which is the main federal government response organization. No one ever raises this in response to the B.C. government’s claims because it is never publicized.