Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Following up on Robson Bight: Accountability at Hand

This week,  A British Columbia trucking company was found guilty of six pollution charges stemming from spilling oil into Robson Bight, BC, in August of 2007. The Ted Leroy Company was found guilty on all six charges relating to an Aug. 20, 2007, incident where a barge tipped and dumped logging equipment, along with diesel fuel and oil, into the waters surrounding Robson Bight.

The former Duncan-based logging company had contracted Gowlland to tow a barge loaded with heavy equipment from Beaver Cove to a camp in Bute Inlet, when it tipped and dumped most of the equipment into the ecological area, located about 110 kilometres north of Campbell River.  As you may recall, 
the barge had been so riven with leaks that it lost its stability, pitching to one side and dumped its entire cargo into the sea.The Michael Biggs Ecological Reserve at Robson Bight is world-renowned area where northern resident orcas come to rub themselves on the smooth rocks below the water’s surface, particularly during the summer.   All but one of the 12 pieces of logging equipment, along with a cargo container, went overboard after the barge “Kathy L” took on water and tipped. Approximately 20,000 litres of petroleum products were aboard the barge, and hours after the spill, a 14-kilometre long oil slick extended from Robson Bight to Hanson Island.

Oonagh O’Connor, energy campaign manager for the Sointula, B.C.-based Living Oceans Society, said the trucking company has declared bankruptcy.

She added that the Canadian taxpayer will likely be on the hook for the spill’s $2.5-million cleanup.

O’Connor is also currently concerned over a proposed pipeline project between Alberta and Kitimat that could see 200 tankers each loaded with two million litres of crude oil travelling along B.C.’s coast. 

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