B.C. announces new spill response regulations

B.C. announces new spill response regulations

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The Nathan E. Stewart spill, off Bella Bella, occurred on October 13, 2016. B.C. said it is considering future regulations that could require full compensation for First Nation, community and provincial response and recovery efforts. Photo credit: Canadian Coast Guard.

British Columbia unveiled new regulations that require transporters of liquid petroleum products to have provincial plans in place to manage a spill. The regulations were announced on October 13, 2017, and apply to pipelines, as well as rail and trucking operations transporting over 10,000 litres.

According to British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, the new regulations bring Division 2.1 Spill Preparedness, Response and Recovery of the Environmental Management Act into force as of October 30, 2017. The three new regulations are: (1) Spill Preparedness, Response and Recovery Regulation; (2) Spill Reporting Regulation; and, (3) Spill Contingency Planning Regulation.

Taking effect on October 30, 2017, enhancements to the Environmental Management Act and the regulations include new preparedness, response and recovery requirements.

  • Preparedness: Regulated persons have been identified as transporters of liquid petroleum products. The owners of ministry regulated pipelines transporting any amount of liquid petroleum products are regulated persons, as are the owners of rail and highway transporters in possession of 10,000 litres or more. To demonstrate preparedness, regulated persons are required to develop and test provincial spill contingency plans.
  • Response and recovery: A responsible person is someone who has possession, charge or control of a substance or thing when a spill of the substance or thing occurs or is at imminent risk of occurring. Responsible persons will be required to meet enhanced spill reporting requirements, carry out all the response actions specified in the Act as well as any additional steps required by a director, and, if directed to do so, develop and implement a recovery plan that addresses any damage done to the environment.

The Ministry said that to address situations like the Nathan E. Stewart spill (off Bella Bella), where a product spilled from a marine vessel impacting seabeds and shoreline under provincial jurisdiction, B.C. is considering future regulations that could require full compensation for First Nation, community and provincial response and recovery efforts.

A summary of the new requirements is available here (PDF). To learn more about the regulations and how to prepare for them, visit: www2.gov.bc.ca.

Halogen-DEC17

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