What would the economic cost of an oil spill be?
This page builds on information from a Tsleil-Waututh Nation report that assesses the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project. You can read and download the full report here.
It is estimated that cleanup costs for a medium-large oil spill could be between $2.4 billion and $9.4 billion dollars.
- While it is impossible to know exactly how much an oil spill would cost, experts are able to estimate the financial risks by examining historic major spills.
- A 2012 study on the potential economic impact of a tanker spill on ocean-based industries in British Columbia, conducted by the Fisheries Centre of the University of British Columbia, estimates that a medium-sized spill on British Columbia’s north coast would cost the regional economy up to $189 million and require $2.4 billion for cleanup costs. A large-sized spill would cost the regional economy up to $308 million and require $9.4 billion for cleanup. (CredBC)
- According to the Government of British Columbia, limits of liability rules in Canada protect a spiller from spending more than approximately $1.3 billion to clean up an oil spill. In this case, costs for clearing beaches of oily waste, disposing of oily waste, rehabilitating oiled wildlife and coastlines, and salvaging wreckage would likely fall to the provincial and federal governments, local businesses and residents (Technical Analysis: Requirements for British Columbia to Consider Support for Heavy Oil Pipelines, p.11).
- According to CRED, it is unclear whether Trans Mountain would have to come up with clean up costs for land-based spills at all.
- The City of Vancouver has proposed a bylaw that would force Trans Mountain to cover the entire costs of a large-scale oil spill. However, the law has not yet been approved.
- UBC’s Neighbourhoods Association has requested proof of insurance against spill damage, but this hasn’t been received. (CredBC)
The economic cost of a sizeable oil spill is far too great, and is a risk we simply cannot take.
We have the chance to focus on a sustainable economy by the stopping the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline. Click here to learn more.
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