Watchdog: Canada lacks oil spill response

Feb. 6, 2013 at 7:52 AM

OTTAWA, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Provincial governments along Canada's eastern coast and their federal partners aren't prepared should a major oil spill occur, a government watchdog said.

Canadian Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan testified that oil spills from offshore platforms in the region may present a risk to the marine environment.

"We found that while the Canada-Nova Scotia and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador boards have adequately managed the day-to-day environmental impacts of offshore oil and gas activities, they and their federal partners need to do more to prepare for a major oil spill," he said in a statement.

Vaughan said his investigation revealed several deficiencies in the governments' capacities to respond to a major spill. He said operators should submit spill response and environmental protection plans along with offshore proposals.

U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil announced plans last month to design a stand-alone structure to develop the Hebron oil field off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The company said the project, which represents $14 billion in capital cost, will be able to recover more than 700 million barrels of oil.

Exxon said the facility will be able to withstand sea ice, icebergs and the tough oceanic climate.

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