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Feds to study risks for Canadian oil, chemical spills

To bolster marine safety, Canada’s federal government has formed a tri-partnership to analyze and evaluate the risk of oil or chemical spills occurring in Canadian waters. The decision comes as a result of a series of 2012 mishaps with...


To bolster marine safety, Canada’s federal government has formed a tri-partnership to analyze and evaluate the risk of oil or chemical spills occurring in Canadian waters. The decision comes as a result of a series of 2012 mishaps with vessels and bungled processes at oil handling facilities.

According to a February 2013 statement from the federal government, the pan-Canadian study will be conducted in two phases under the authority of the Canadian Coast Guard, Environment Canada and Transport Canada. Investigators will analyze incidents such as collisions, fires, explosions, structural failure and loading and off-loading operations.

The first phase of the marine study will examine the likelihood and potential impacts of oil spills in Canadian waters, including the Arctic. Phase two, meanwhile, will look at the risks associated with chemical spills.

The federal government has issued a request for proposals on the Government Electronic Tendering Service known as MERX to retain marine and risk assessment experts. The contracting process is managed by Public Works and Government Services Canada. A contract is expected to be announced in early spring 2013, the government says.

British Columbia Plan

Representatives from the Association of Petroleum Producers, the Energy Pipeline Association, Transport Canada and the coast guard were among 13 groups that attended a January 22, 2013 roundtable on spill preparedness and response in British Columbia.

The province is considering several new plans, such as industry funding the creation of a spill response fund to ensure money is available immediately when an emergency occurs.

In a statement from the roundtable, provincial officials indicated that they receive about 3,500 notices of environmental emergencies each year, ranging from home-based oil accidents to overturned tanker trucks, train derailments and spills on water.


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