A decision by the Harper government to give conditional approval to the Northern Gateway pipeline is pressuring residents in the Aleutian Islands to prepare for the possibility of more tanker traffic.
Enbridge the company behind the Northern Gateway pipeline must meet more than 200 conditions before it can start. While many of the conditions relate to preventing spills, they don’t extend to the Bering Sea which could see as many as 200 more oil tankers passing through it because of the project.
The Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment project manager, Leslie Pearson is preparing a report on how to protect the region. “We’ll have a draft report from the Risk Assessment that identifies recommendations for building an optimum response system. That includes towing, offshore distances, response, salvage and marine firefighting capabilities for the Aleutian region.”
The report is more than five years in the making. One recommendation will be trans-Pacific tankers stay at least 80 kilometers from shore throughout the Aleutian Islands.
Ships traveling to and from Northern Gateway are not subject to American rules for spill prevention if they are not stopping at an American port. Still, Pearson is hoping companies that send tankers through her area will abide by their safety recommendations.
The report is expected in August.