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Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
250 953-3834


Proposed regulations under the Environmental Management Act

The following are proposed regulations under the Environmental Management Act (EMA) to improve liquid petroleum spill response and recovery:

1. Response times

Response times are the established timeframes within which response resources will be activated and arrive at a spill site. Currently, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy does not regulate in this area. Establishing response-time requirements would align with practices of other regulators, and those in neighbouring jurisdictions.

2. Geographic response plans

Geographic response plans (GRPs) identify sensitive, natural, cultural, or significant economic resources at risk from spills. They outline the response actions that are appropriate for that site to minimize impacts to these resources, should a spill occur. GRPs are map-based, and each one has a variety of information that is useful to responders, particularly in the first 48 to 72 hours of a response.

3. Loss of public use

Loss of public use refers to the requirement that spillers provide some form of restitution for the impacts of spills on the use and/or enjoyment of public spaces and resources. These include the use of beaches, parks and forests, the enjoyment of wildlife, wilderness spaces, food resources, recreation and drinking water, as well as the intrinsic value of archaeological and cultural sites.

4. Marine application

The Province seeks to broaden existing ministry authority to ensure provincial interests are fully addressed in marine spill prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. While the primary responsibility for marine spills lies with federal agencies, a spill of any significance will impact and involve all orders of government. The provincial government has a responsibility to ensure there is a regulatory framework in place that protects its coastal resources.

5. Diluted bitumen transportation restrictions

The Province will create an independent scientific advisory panel to help address the scientific uncertainties outlined in the report, The Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel: The Behaviour and Environmental Impacts of Crude Oil Released into Aqueous Environments. The recommendations of the advisory panel will inform future regulatory development and approaches to spill response.

In order to protect B.C.’s environmental and economic interests while the advisory panel is proceeding, the Province is proposing regulatory restrictions to be placed on the increase of diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) transportation.