B.C. is moving ahead with plans to develop a world-leading land-based spill prevention and response regime after a successful three-day symposium concluded today in Vancouver, said Environment Minister Terry Lake.
Approximately 200 participants from industry organizations, environmental non-governmental organizations, various government ministries, First Nations, local government, and national and international spill prevention and response experts all contributed to strong discussions and presentations on what constitutes a world-leading approach for spill prevention and response.
Over the course of the symposium a number of common themes were addressed as to how B.C. can achieve a world-leading model. Some of these themes include:
- A new planning and response model for B.C. needs to account for both risk and consequence.
- A clear definition of what substances and sectors the model will include.
- A new funding mechanism should have clear accountabilities and goals.
"By holding this symposium, we are now armed with additional knowledge to continue working collaboratively to define and develop world-class practices for spill preparedness and response in B.C.," said Lake. "We will be moving forward on an approach that takes the best of existing models and programs and using this information to customize an approach for B.C.'s unique geography, environment and industrial activity."
A working group comprised of First Nations, industry, government, and stakeholders will now get to work on exploring these themes and acting on the input received during the symposium. This group will continue to meet over the next several months to develop recommendations to be considered by the ministry. These recommendations will be shared publicly and government will be consulting broadly before moving forward with specific changes.
Keynote speakers included captain Scott Schaefer from the U.S. Coast Guard (retired) who gave an informative presentation entitled Deepwater Horizon - An Incident Commander's Perspective, which offered several valuable lessons learned from his experience at the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Protecting the environment requires extensive preparedness and constant vigilance," said Schaefer. "I was very impressed with the Ministry of Environment's symposium on land-based spill preparedness and response in B.C., and I am very confident in their ability to put together a world-class oil spill preparedness and response program that will protect B.C.'s valuable pristine coastal resources."
B.C. Newsroom - Ministry of Environment:http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/ministries/environment-1
Land Based Spill Preparedness and Response in British Columbia: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/codes/spr_eep/response.htm
Ministry of Environment Communications