• Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Cross-border oil pollution... By Thomas S. Hawkins Maritime Lawyer in the Vancouver Law Firm of Bernard LLP - Subscriber Access Only

By BCShippingNews 28 February 2015

A ship-source oil spill is messy at the best of times, but when it fails to respect national boundaries, the logistical and legal complications expand exponentially. Images of oil-soaked birds and coastlines resonate loudly with politicians, citizens and government agencies, never mind the media and certainly, there is the potential to cause significant harm to the marine environment. A ship-source oil pollution occurrence in the vicinity of national boundaries will be compounded by the vagaries of tidal currents, sea conditions, and weather and will impact where an oil spill will spread.

Oil pollution impacting the marine environment has far-reaching national and international implications. While both Canada and the United States share co-operative agreements, treaties, joint action plans and common response strategies, there are enough differences in the regimes to warrant a review — especially given the potential of an increase in tanker traffic through proposed projects like the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline. This article will touch on some of the differences in the respective regimes and efforts toward trans-boundary co-operation.

U.S. / Canada pollution legislation