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Council of Canadians & Équiterre report warns of tar sands tankers on the St. Lawrence River

Report covers

The bilingual report by the Council of Canadians and Équiterre.

Metro Montreal reports (in French), “If one of the supertankers that left the port of Sorel this fall lost 10 per cent of its cargo of 110 million litres of petroleum, an oil slick would cover Lac Saint-Pierre in less than eight hours, notes a study commissioned by Équiterre and the Council of Canadians. …According to the study, Doubling Down on Disaster, the damage would amount to more than $2 billion, which far exceeds the liability limit of $1.4 billion imposed by the Canada Shipping Act.”

While we note in our report that an oil spill could devastate the 32-kilometre Lac Saint-Pierre in eight hours, Radio-Canada adds (in French) that a TransCanada study on ‘spill scenarios’ says that oil could reach 60 to 90 kilometres along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River five days after a spill. And it notes, “In an interview with Radio-Canada, an official with the ECRC [Marine Response Corporation of Eastern Canada] acknowledged it would not be able to recover more than 20 per cent of the oil spilled into the river.”

The report by the Council of Canadians and Équiterre highlights, “Current oil spill response capacity is not sufficient for the approximately 300 shipments of conventional crude oil currently delivered on the St. Lawrence River every year. …Proposed export shipments from Energy East and Suncor could double the number of shipments and double the size of the shipments on the St. Lawrence. The predominant cargo is expected to be diluted bitumen, a product that is exceedingly difficult – if not impossible – to clean up when spilled.”

The Radio-Canada news article quotes Council of Canadians organizer Mark Calzavara commenting, “We should reduce the amount of oil transported on the St. Lawrence River, not increase it.”

Our report was also covered in French by Le Devoir here and TVA Nouvelles here.

The 12-page report can be read in French here and in English here.

Further reading
Crude oil spill on the St. Lawrence would cost billions, report reveals (February 2015 media release)
Council of Canadians joins protest against tar sands tankers on the St. Lawrence River (October 2014 blog)
St. Lawrence mayors oppose Energy East plan for 175 tankers a year on their river (November 2014 blog)