This photo from May shows a slick of fuel on the waters near Hartley Bay when an oil spill was reported near the community.

Oil spill could cost the north coast economy more than $300 million, UBC study finds

An oil spill on the north coast could result in over $300 million and over 4,000 person years of employment being lost from the economy.

An oil spill on the north coast could result in more than $300 million and over 4,000 person years of employment being lost from the region’s economy, said a study by UBC released this morning.

The study, authored by UBC Fisheries Centre director Rashid Sumaila with funding from the World Wildlife Fund Canada, examined what would happen if there were a medium or large-scale oil spill from a tanker carrying crude oil.

In the event of a medium spill of 10,000 cubic metres of hydrocarbons, the study says the regional economy would lose between $41 million and $189 million, between 399 and 1,314 person-years of employment and $23 million to $89 million of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over 50 years.

In the event of a large spill of 41,000 cubic metres of hydrocarbons, the losses would balloon to between $87 million and $308 million, between 1,652 and 4,379 person years of employment and between $72 million and $205 million of GDP over 50 years.

The losses are based on the impact to commercial and recreational fishing, port activities, ferry transportation and marine tourism.

But the report takes it a step further and looks at the cost of cleaning up any potential spill in the area. Should a medium spill occur the costs of clean-up would be in the area of $2.4 billion while a large-scale spill would cost $9.6 billion.

In comparison, the authors note the Northern Gateway could produce economic effects of $628 million, between 5,717 and 8,369 person years of employment and $293 million in GDP over 50 years.

Although the financial implications outlined in the report are quite high, the authors note that there are a lot of things that weren’t taken into account during the study.

While this study provides a highly conservative first estimate of the potential economic impacts of a tanker spill in the North Coast region of British Columbia, several potential impacts on valued ecosystem services were not assessed. These include social, cultural and ecological values to residents and non-residents of the region. Additional investigation of these values, including those related to food-social-ceremonial fishing, would provide a more complete estimate of the total economic value related to the ocean in the North Coast region and support informed decision-making for industrial developments, such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway project,” it reads.

If these costs are accounted for, all of the projected economic gains from the Enbridge Northern Gateway project could quickly turn into losses in the event of a tanker spill.”

Todd Nogier, manager of corporate and western access communications for Enbridge, said the company has a number of concerns about the study.

One concern is that they are taking the economic benefit that is certain to occur and comparing it with spill costs of an event that is highly unlikely to occur… It doesn’t take the low probability into account. The report states a large-scale spill is a 15,000 year event, which we have no disagreement with, but most economic impact analysis will take the probability into account,” he said, adding that Enbridge is taking steps to mitigate any potential spill and improving on emergency response in the region.

A spill of this magnitude has never happened in Canadian waters. The Canadian oil marine industry has a world-leading safety record and has not had a spill.”

Just Posted

City struggles to meet RCMP demands to improve facilities

Prince Rupert’s cells being retrofitted while process continues for new $30M RCMP building

LETTER: Haven from the sun

Viviers and Tupas family have been in Prince Rupert 20 years after leaving the sun in South Africa

LETTER: Take a moment to think of the first responders

Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus crash has affected many

Wind damage delays opening of Doug Kerr field

Sections of the field’s sod were torn up by high speed winds on April 10

Heart of Our City: Jeroen Gerritsen’s Scout’s honour

Jeroen Gerritsen joined Scouts Canada when his sons wanted to sign up

North Coast teachers learn the language of technology

School District 52 teachers learned about circuits, Microbits and JavaScripts on April 20

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Royal baby: It’s a boy for Kate and William

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to her third child, a boy weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

Trump says North Korea agreed to denuclearize. It hasn’t.

Trump is claiming that North Korea has agreed to “denuclearization” before his potential meeting with Kim, but that’s not the case.

Suspect in deadly Waffle House shooting still being sought

Police say Travis Reinking is the suspect in a shooting at a Waffle House restaurant Sunday in Nashville that left four people dead.

G7 warned of Russian threats to western democracy

Ukraine foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin warns G7 of Russian war against Western democracy

Vancouver Island man killed in Peru

Friends of Woodroffe have posted messages of condolences on social media pages.

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

Most Read