Oil cleanup costs should be shared proportionately

B.C. need not take on 100 per cent of potential cleanup costs of oil spills

Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has warned that B.C.’s efforts in seeking a larger portion of the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline pie does not serve the national interest.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford takes a similar position and said B.C.’s request would “fundamentally change Confederation.”

B.C. Premier Christy Clark says we need more than 8.2 per cent of the tax revenue generated by the project, as B.C. would have to shoulder 100 per cent of the costs if a marine oil spill occurs, and 58 per cent of any land-based environmental damage costs.

Here is a suggestion to ease the bickering: Why not have an agreement whereby all the financial benefactors involved contribute their proportionate amount, based on revenue sharing, to any damages that result from oil spills related to the pipeline or the oil it would carry?

For example, Ottawa would chip in 44 per cent and Alberta 40 per cent of any associated cleanup costs.

Also, Enbridge Inc. has indicated it will pump an additional $500 million into their construction costs, in hopes that the pipes transporting the oil will become leakproof. Not good enough. Compared to the potential cleanup costs of an oil spill, $500 million is peanuts.

Enbridge should post, for discussion purposes, a $10-billion bond, which would apply to cover costs attributable to any oil leaks and spillage resulting from their contribution to this project.

Martin Battle

Victoria