New federal bill will see oil tankers banned from B.C.’s North Coast

OTTAWA, O.N. — New legislation introduced by the federal government will bar most oil tankers from operating along B.C.’s North Coast.

Transportation Minister Marc Garneau has introduced the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act in the House of Commons.

The Act will ban tankers carrying crude oil and persistent oils from stopping, loading or unloading at any ports or marine installations from the northern tip of Vancouver Island all the way to the B.C.-Alaska order, including Haida Gwaii.

The legislation fulfills a pledge made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last fall, when he also kiboshed the Northern Gateway pipeline project, saying northern B.C. was no place for oil tanker traffic.

Penalties for defying the ban are as high as $5 million.

Tankers carrying less than 12,500 metric tonnes of oil are exempt, to ensure northern communities can continue to receive shipments of necessary fuels.

The legislation will allow for amendments to exempt or add additional products based on science and environmental safety.

Persistent oils are those which are heavier and dissipate slowly if they spill, such as synthetic crude, partially upgraded bitumen and Bunker C fuel oil.

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