Canada Toughens Oil Spill Regulations

The Canadian Prime Minister has toughened regulations for oil spills in light of recent environmental disasters and with two proposed pipeline projects in British Columbia in, well, the pipeline.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline project is the source of fierce debate in Canada, with many objecting to it due to the potential for oil spills to wipe out any economic boost on offer, and instead to create many environmental problems. In 2012, a report from the University of British Columbia came to the conclusion that: “A major tanker spill off the coast of northern British Columbia could wipe out any potential economic gains from the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline project.”

A History of Spills

In the last nine years, there has already been seven major land oil spills on Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline, with the largest resulting in a quarter of a million gallons of oil flooding residential areas. In light of past damage and to help mitigate future potential problems, the Canadian Prime Minister has put in place regulations to force pipeline operators to have insurance of up to $1 billion to cover the clean-up costs of oil spills on land. At sea, liability will rise to $400 million.

This is not the only rule that ministers are putting in place before approving the new Northern Gateway Pipeline. However, in the wake of a major spill on the streets of LA, the decision to increase insurance cover is one that is likely to be very wise.


Putting in place tougher oil spill regulations before approving major projects involving oil is an extremely sensible move by the Canadian government, and one that may well be followed by others in countries across the world. After all, a single spill can cause significant economic and environmental damage, and it will be important to know that operators will be doing all they can to avoid such disasters and that they will be covered financially to deal with any problems that do arise.

Further legislation in Canada will require the use of modern technology and chemical dispersants to clean up spilled oil. But, of course, smaller clean-up products will be just as important as major technology and it will be important for all projects involving oil to know how best to deal with spills of any magnitude.

In the UK there are already strict laws about how chemicals and other potentially harmful liquids should be stored, and in the wake of recent spills across the world including the recent major incident in LA, it may well be that legislation is tightened here in the future too.

In any case, it will be important for all companies dealing with the likes of oil to not only be aware of current legislation and to abide by it fully, but also to ensure that, whilst they may have taken all possible precautions to prevent spills in the first place, they choose suitable products to help them deal with spills of any type of size. The right spill containment and cleaning products are a must for those who want to not only protect the environment, but also their staff, customers and local communities whilst at the same time meeting their full insurance requirements.

Author Bio: Alan Holmes is a freelance writer and blogger. He regularly writes articles about chemical control using sites such as Lubetech to stay up to date with all the latest industry news.

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