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Canada Prepares For Oil Disasters

Environment Politics +1 more

CANADA - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, was in attendance yesterday (17 June) as the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) practiced its oil spill response capabilities in an exercise in Miramichi, New Brunswick.

Personnel from CCG Maritimes Region Environmental Response branch were on the waters of the Miramichi River earlier in the week deploying vessels and equipment in a regularly scheduled annual exercise.

“I am pleased to be here today to see firsthand that the Canadian Coast Guard stands ready to react to oil spills in Canadian waters,” said Minister Shea. “Exercises such as Miramichi 2010 demonstrate that Canada has the capacity and coordination to respond quickly and effectively in the event of an oil spill in our waters.”

CCG Environmental Response works closely with its federal, provincial and private-sector response partners to ensure an effective response during an oil spill in Canadian waters. For the Miramichi exercise, these partners include Environment Canada, Transport Canada, the New Brunswick Department of the Environment as well as private-sector and non-profit organisations.

In Miramichi, CCG Maritimes Region Environmental Response is deploying several new pieces of equipment. These include a new oil recovery system capable of operating in areas of significant water current. The Miramichi area was chosen for this year’s exercise due to challenging conditions that exist in the river system which is navigable for 33 miles from its mouth in the Gulf of St Lawrence. The area of the Miramichi selected is used for commercial transport, fishing, and eco-tourism.

"I am proud that our government is here in Miramichi, demonstrating the very best of the Canadian Coast Guard environmental disaster response,” said MP Tilly O'Neill-Gordon. "The government is determined to protect our oceans for those Canadian families whose livelihoods depend on it."

An exercise in the Miramichi area will allow the Coast Guard to gather information on how current oil recovery equipment and new pollution response vessels perform in real world environments. As in all of CCG exercises of this nature, no oil will be released into the water.

The on-the-water operation was preceded by a day-long planning workshop that brought CCG together with its oil spill response partners, which include Environment Canada, Transport Canada, provincial departments and various private-sector organizations. This planning helps to ensure that all parties are prepared to work together in responding to an oil spill in the Miramichi Area.