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Premier voices serious oil response concerns during visit to Nanaimo

Nanaimo News Now, By Ian Holmes

October 27, 2016 – 5:31pm

NANAIMO — Premier Christy Clark outlined her frustrations with the federal government on Thursday in Nanaimo for not having what she calls an adequate oil spill response plan on the West Coast.

Following her keynote speech at the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance Summit, Clark expanded on her concerns to reporters regarding a recent tug boat spill near Bella Bella, which she said underscores a longstanding problem.

“There was no spill response anywhere close by when that ship tipped over,” said a visibly frustrated Clark, who has formally stated her concerns to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“I have described to him the extent of the problem, the huge risk that this poses to us.”

Clark says that as it stands today, the province is at tremendous risk before even considering oil project proposals linking Alberta and British Columbia.

“We have thousands and thousands of ships carrying oil and fuel that are going up our coast every single day. Some of them carrying bitumen and we don’t have the spill response we need to protect us.”

A tug with more than 225,000 litres of diesel fuel, some of which has been recovered, spilled when the boat pushing a barge ran aground on rural Central Coast shoreline on Oct. 13. The fuel recovery effort has been widely criticized, including by the local Heiltsuk First Nation. The incident has reportedly shut down a local clam fishery.

Clark said she has not yet heard back from the Prime Minister on the issue.

“We’ve been working on this for quite a few years now but I hope we have an open ear in Ottawa these days.”

Read the article from Nanaimo News Now.

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