Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Exxon Valdez we've heard of, but what about Nestucca?

Down in the Bunkers, the Stacks, of the Vancouver Library Main Branch, there are bounded volumes consisting of four weekly editions of a magazine called  the "British Columbia Report".   Here at the BBC, we stumbled upon the BC Report purely by chance because it was part and parcel of a larger collection of newspaper clippings on some one called Andrew Rose.  If the name Rose is not familiar to you, then please check out CBC's Fifth Estate documentary on "Someone got away with Murder"... two murders that is, that happened on October 6, 1983, near Chetwynd, BC.   

Tracking down the original BC Report from the one clipping required a look on the Internet, so too a visit to the BC Legislative Library, because it sounded as though the BC report was a Public Affairs Bureau (PAB) production, but in fact the magazine was far, far removed from the GCPE aka PAB.  The Report was more of a "right-wing or Conservative" editorial stance or a private enterprise political Pit Bull.

The BC report was around when the BC Socred Party were going down in flames.  Bill Bennett had been at the helm; Bill Vander Zalm took over...but a hat lady called Faye came along with an offer that was pure Fantasy; and then Rita Johnston took over, without a parachute.

We found the VPL BC Record Stack volumes loaded with material that is still relevant today, like this one called "Slick Manoeuvres", authored by Quentin Dodd, who still contributes to the Tyee.

The BC Government does have it's own version of what happened when the Nestucca Barge Spilled oil, and with it the ensuing Clean-up, which was left to volunteers here on the Canadian side of the border.   It all started in the State of Washington when the tug that was pulling the Nestucca, lost it's tow line and then while two crew members were climbing on board the barge, the Tug punctured the hull in its forward starboard corner.

To the public at large, this sound like an environmental disaster on high seas, within our Coast waters, but our high flying Premier, Christy Clark and her PAB, considers that this man made disaster NOW belongs to the Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services!   Go figure!

How will the public be able to find any information on the Northern Gateway pipeline if we now have to look under the heading of Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services?

Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Service

Nestucca Barge Oil Spill

January 16, 2016  Update: Turns out the BC Liberal Government doesn't want to show one of their Five Conditions that pipeline companies have to adhere to IF they have an oil spill.  WayBack Machine to the Nestucca
Image retrieved from the WayBack Machine

Shoreline clean-up of oil from the Nestucca barge
The collision occurred approximately 3 kilometres off the coast of Washington, near Gray’s Harbor. Oil came ashore in discontinuous patches mainly in Canada on Vancouver Island - from near Victoria in the southeast to near Cape Scott in the north.
Time and Date of Incident
December 23, 1988 in the early morning.
Product/Quantity Spilled 1
An estimated 87,400 litres (5500 barrels) of Bunker C oil.
Incident Overview Reports:
Incident overviews provide information on significant spills of oil or hazardous material in British Columbia. These overviews are not situation reports, but summaries about the incident location, scale, cause, response actions, and environmental impacts.
New, 2016, URL for BC Spill Incidents

Also URL for all spills eg. Mount Polley too
 Reports indicated that as many as 56,000 seabirds were killed.  And the clincher to the government's readiness, in protecting our shores environment, was this:

There was no attempt made at open water recovery by Canadian or U.S. authorities. High seas and currents precluded the use of containment booms. An inter-agency response to the incident helped to reduce the damage caused by the spill. An outcome of the Nestucca oil spill — and the Exxon Valdez spill that occurred 3 months afterwards — was the development of Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Teams. These teams assist in the process of assessing and recommending cleanup/treatment and/or constraints for each shoreline unit affected and also determine end-points for cleanup. The internationally used and proven Incident Command System (ICS) was adopted by the Ministry of Environment — and by 1995 for the province — as the incident management organization for spills and other emergencies.

On a side note, the Nestucca was included in a report involving the Federal Government's abandonment of Lighthouses throughout Canada .   Page 41 / 42 in this:

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
first to report the Nestucca oil spill drifting toward western Vancouver Island in 1988; his early warning was said to ...... Quentin Dodd, as an individual. Friday ...

The tale of the Nestucca was further abused when the Federal Government of Canada hired someone to do a report and when the petroleum industry claimed that the recommendations were too harsh, $$$$, the Government of the day promptly buried it.


e.a.f. said...

thank you for writing about this. once I read it I remembered both cases, the spill & the murders.

Grant G said...

Thanks for this valuable information, you are indeed the document finding king..