VANCOUVER – Major pipeline companies will have to prove they have access to $1 billion to cover the costs of an oil or gas spill under new rules announced by Nature Resources Minister Joe Oliver.
The federal government will also enshrine in law the “polluter pay” principle for oil and gas pipelines, to ensure taxpayers are not left on the hook for cleanup costs.
In Vancouver today to make the announcement, Oliver also says companies will have to appoint a senior manager to be held accountable for ensuring the company is in compliance with regulations.
As of July 3, under previously announced revisions, the National Energy Board will have the authority to directly fine companies up to $100,000 a day for infractions and individuals up to $25,000 a day.
The announcement comes two days after federal review panel hearings concluded on the controversial Northern Gateway project from Alberta to the B.C. coast, and one day after U.S. President Barack Obama cast doubt on the future of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline going south.
The oil industry says Canada is losing billions of dollars a year because western Canadian oil is not reaching lucrative Asian markets.