Only Foolproof Way to Stop Spills is to Stop Tankers: B.C.’s five conditions still not met and never can be


November 7, 2016

Victoria, B.C.—Sierra Club BC released the following statement from campaigns director Caitlyn Vernon:

“We welcome today’s announcement of improved spill response, but it doesn’t make coastal communities any safer from the risks posed by a 700 per cent increase in tankers carrying diluted bitumen in southern B.C. waters.

“The fact is, the only foolproof way to stop oil spills and protect the coast is to keep tankers off the coast. And world-leading or not, nothing in this plan will help in the case of a major tanker spill.

“Recent failed and inadequate spill responses on B.C.’s coast highlight the urgent need for these measures to improve response for existing shipping traffic.

“But a bigger, fancier mop doesn’t reduce the chances of a spill.

“When it comes to diluted bitumen, a bigger, fancier mop doesn’t really change anything at all: these new measures don’t address the fact that there is no known technology that can clean up sunken bitumen.

“Industry considers 10-15 per cent of oil recovered to be a success. If “world-leading” means failing to recover 85 to 90 per cent of the oil, the results would be catastrophic.

“The new measures don’t decrease the risk of an oil spill. And they don’t protect the 98,000 coast-dependent jobs that would be put at risk by a spill.

“What we need is effective spill response, and for diluted bitumen that simply isn’t possible.

“The only real way to protect B.C. coastal communities from a massive oil spill is prevention.

“To protect the B.C. coast, the federal government needs to enact a permanent, legislated tanker ban for the north coast, and say no to the dangerous Kinder Morgan pipeline and tankers proposal.”



Tim Pearson

Director of Communications, Sierra Club BC

(250) 896-1556