At an estimated 2,700 litres, the bunker fuel spill in English Bay was relatively small — yet the stakes of that spill couldn’t be much higher.
With Enbridge and Kinder Morgan both hoping to build oil pipelines to B.C., which would significantly increase oil tanker traffic in the province’s inside coastal waters, a dramatically mishandled marine oil spill raises all sorts of questions — questions the federal government does not appear well-positioned to answer, despite its aggressive push for West Coast oil exports.
“Obviously, from the oil industry’s perspective, you couldn’t have picked a worse place to have an oil spill,” Jim Stanford, economist at Unifor and founder of the Progressive Economics Forum, told DeSmog Canada.
While the federal government insisted its response was “world-class,” a former commander of the shuttered Kits Coast Guard station blamed the six-hour delay in even deploying a boom to contain the oil on the closure of that station in 2013 — a move that is reported to have saved the federal government at estimated $700,000 a year.
The English Bay spill, beyond being a systemic failure, has been a total PR disaster.