Proposed Abstract Title

Oil Spill Risk and Response in an Urban Context: A local government perspective

Presenter/Author Information

Katie McPhersonFollow

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Community perspectives on oil spill planning and response

Location

2016SSEC

Description

As one of the most densely populated cities in Canada, and home to Canada’s busiest Port, the City of Vancouver faces unique challenges in planning for and responding to oil spills. In 2014 the City partnered with local municipalities, NGOs and First Nations to invest in research to better understand the risks of an oil spill on our community, and specifically the potential risks of a diluted bitumen release. A spill here can put the health and safety of the public, the environment, and the economy at risk, but there is no requirement under current legislation or regulation to adequately assess, prepare for or mitigate these risks. For the most part, marine oil spill response in Canada has been limited to the operational clean-up of oil on the water, and has not addressed the management of the consequences of an oil spill on local communities.

Many of the issues that were identified through research and risk assessments were played out in real life on April 8, 2014 when the M/V Marathassa leaked an unknown quantity of Bunker C fuel into English Bay. The City of Vancouver’s Emergency Operations Centre was activated for 20 days to deal with the consequences. Although this fuel oil spill was much smaller than a potential worst-case tanker spill scenario, the lessons learned from this incident can inform planning, preparedness and mitigation for spills of all sizes.

This presentation will focus the key findings of the City’s research and lessons from the Marathassa Spill. The presentation will demonstrate the importance of developing plans that are specific to the region, and engaging local stakeholders in risk assessment, planning, and preparedness. The presentation will highlight some of the actions taken since the Marathassa, and propose enhancements to oil spill planning and preparedness in Burrard Inlet.

Comments

Katie McPherson is the Manager of Emergency Planning for the City of Vancouver and served as Deputy Unified Command and a technical specialist for the City of Vancouver during the Marathassa Oil Spill. She also led the emergency management elements of the City's risk and consequence assessment of the proposed Trans Mountain expansion project.

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Oil Spill Risk and Response in an Urban Context: A local government perspective

2016SSEC

As one of the most densely populated cities in Canada, and home to Canada’s busiest Port, the City of Vancouver faces unique challenges in planning for and responding to oil spills. In 2014 the City partnered with local municipalities, NGOs and First Nations to invest in research to better understand the risks of an oil spill on our community, and specifically the potential risks of a diluted bitumen release. A spill here can put the health and safety of the public, the environment, and the economy at risk, but there is no requirement under current legislation or regulation to adequately assess, prepare for or mitigate these risks. For the most part, marine oil spill response in Canada has been limited to the operational clean-up of oil on the water, and has not addressed the management of the consequences of an oil spill on local communities.

Many of the issues that were identified through research and risk assessments were played out in real life on April 8, 2014 when the M/V Marathassa leaked an unknown quantity of Bunker C fuel into English Bay. The City of Vancouver’s Emergency Operations Centre was activated for 20 days to deal with the consequences. Although this fuel oil spill was much smaller than a potential worst-case tanker spill scenario, the lessons learned from this incident can inform planning, preparedness and mitigation for spills of all sizes.

This presentation will focus the key findings of the City’s research and lessons from the Marathassa Spill. The presentation will demonstrate the importance of developing plans that are specific to the region, and engaging local stakeholders in risk assessment, planning, and preparedness. The presentation will highlight some of the actions taken since the Marathassa, and propose enhancements to oil spill planning and preparedness in Burrard Inlet.