Sunday, January 06, 2013

U.S. Coast Guard Probes Ottawa-Beijing's Tanker Scheme

The U.S. Coast Guard has been ordered to investigate and report on the implications of large scale bitumen supertanker trafficking out of Vancouver.

A legislative amendment proposed by Washington state Sen. Maria Cantwell and signed into law by President Barack Obama a couple of weeks ago gives the U.S. marine safety agency six months to conduct a risk assessment of the planned expansion of oil pipeline capacity to the West Coast.

While several proposed projects would see oil from the Alberta oil sands brought to the B.C. coast for export primarily to China, the legislation deals specifically with tanker traffic out of the Vancouver area.

"According to reports, Canada is poised to increase oil tanker traffic through the waters around the San Juan Islands and the Juan de Fuca by up to 300 per cent," said a statement issued by Cantwell's office.

"A supertanker oil spill near our shores would threaten Washington state's thriving coastal economy and thousands of jobs," the Democratic senator said in the statement. "This bill will provide crucial information for Washington coastal communities by requiring a detailed risk analysis...."

The Coast Guard will study the risk of transporting oil via supertanker, tanker and barge through the Salish Sea waterways, which encompasses U.S. and Canadian territorial waters between southern Vancouver Island and the mainland. It includes Juan de Fuca Strait, the Strait of Georgia, Haro and Rosario Straits and Puget Sound.

No word yet on when or even if the U.S. Coast Guard will be looking into the Kitimat proposal which could pose a similar threat to Alaska.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is is absolutely insane, to string a pipeline across BC. The number of earthquakes should tell Harper and Enbridge that. There are avalanches, mudslides, with loss of life. There are rock slides, forest fires and swift running flooded rivers, that carry away homes and highways.

The sea into Kitimat Port, are one of the most treacherous in the world. There are frequent, hurricane force wind warnings.There are rogue waves, as high as a four story building. It takes three miles to stop one of those behemoth tankers. This is a brain dead venture. It's not IF an oil spill, but WHEN a spill will occur.

Nor, are we so stupid as to think, China will be the only country, bringing tankers into Kitimat Port.