Ottawa to double spending on ship pollution surveillance off Canadian coasts
The federal government has announced a funding boost for marine pollution surveillance as it attempts to shore up environmental protections in British Columbia and water down opposition to oil export plans.
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said on Wednesday that funding for the aerial surveillance program will increase from $5 million to roughly $10 million a year over the next five years, allowing the country’s three surveillance aircraft to increase the number of flights to spot oil spills off Canadian coasts.
The fleet currently spends 2,080 hours a year in the air, and Raitt said that time will increase to 3,750 with the new money.
“On the West Coast, what it means is that surveillance hours increase from 500 to 700 hours until 2017-2018, and at that time, it’s going to increase to 1,200 hours,” she said at a media event in Richmond.
She also said more patrols will be dispatched in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Harbour, the waters just off Metro Vancouver.
Surveillance will also increase around Prince Rupert and Kitimat, where tankers would ship diluted bitumen from the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline if the project is approved.
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