I've been picking through the PM's new Oceans Protection Plan. Here are the regulatory changes that I've found mentioned there. Forum members were wondering if the grounding of the Nathan E. Stewart and the resulting spill would result in regulatory changes. It seems like this plan, which was announced two days ago, has been in the works since before that incident. Never-the-less its easy to suppose that had these rules been in place, that incident might have been avoided or mitigated more effectivly.
The plan calls for:
- Amendment of the Canadian Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund to provide more compensation to those affected by oil spills.
- Tougher rules to require quick industry response when pollution incidents happen.
- The prohibition of vessel abandonment (how was that not allready a law?)
- Making owners responsible for vessel clean-up after abandonment, casualty, or irresponsible vessel management.
- Improving the accuracy of vessel owner identification.
- Creation of a list of problem vessels.
- Provide for education and outreach to owners about changes in the law.
- Allows the government to be more proactive to prevent vessel which are allready a hazard from becoming more of a hazard.
- More emergency and enforcement officers on the Pacific coast and the Atlantic seaboard (including the lakes and the St. Lawrence).
This all seems like good stuff, not too onerous. What do you guys think?
Interestingly, there's not a mention of a tanker ban anywhere in this plan at all. In fact, I didn't see the work "tanker" even dropped one time. Tugs and/or barges are also not singled out anywhere. It does say:
Canada is putting the proper safeguards in place to move natural resources to global markets, improving economic prospects for all Canadians.
The plan says that Ottawa wants to work with coastal communities and ecologists to establish a "coastal zone plan." It doesn't go into what that might be. Maybe, with ecological and economic reasons, it would allow communities and First Nations to say "not in my backyard" to certain kinds of traffic and activities? Not at all clear exactly what a coastal zone plan is.