Environment Minister Terry Lake has suspended the assessment of the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery project proposed by the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation pending the outcome of work underway by the Ministry of Environment on land-based spill preparedness and response and in determining the elements of a world-class marine spill regime.
The Province is committed to a world-leading preparedness and response regime for land based spills and released a policy intentions paper for online consultation in November 2012. This phase of the consultation is now closed and ministry staff continue to meet with key stakeholders to discuss policy development. A symposium featuring experts in land-based spill response is being held March 25 to 27, 2013, to explore best practices and discuss how they can be applied to B.C. for the purpose of creating a world-leading spill response regime.
"Land-based spill" refers to any spill impacting the terrestrial environment, including coastal shorelines, regardless of the source.
While the primary regulatory responsibility for marine spills is federal, B.C. does have a significant role to play and would become the lead agency if and when the oil comes ashore. The government of B.C. will be consulting with an independent expert in this area to ensure the Province's interests are met, while at the same time respecting federal jurisdiction for marine-based protection and response.
These two provincial processes are fundamental in the assessment of the proposed Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery project. For that reason, the assessment has been suspended by the minister until the results of the consultation on the land-based spill preparedness and response process and details of a world-class marine spill regime are available later this summer.
Within 75 days of the information from the two provincial processes becoming available, the Environmental Assessment Office must prepare and submit a supplemental report to the ministers. The ministers will then decide whether to issue an environmental assessment certificate, which will include any conditions the ministers feel are necessary.
Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation is a not-for-profit consortium of commercial airlines that owns and operates shared aviation fuel facilities at the Vancouver airport.
British Columbia's environmental assessment process involves a rigorous, thorough review that provides for significant opportunities for First Nations, government agencies and the public to provide input on the potential for environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects of a proposed project.
Ministry of Environment