The recent history of barge incidents and documentation of the movements of barges carrying dilbit crude oil within the Salish Sea underscores the need to make improvements to the region’s oil spill prevention and response capacity.
Even if the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline does not occur, the oil currently moving within and through the regions necessitates the recommendations in this paper.
The Salish Sea is one of the world’s largest and richest inland seas. It spans most of the inland marine waters of Washington State and British Columbia, covering 16,925 square kilometers, including 419 islands and 7,470 kilometers of coastline. It has a maximum depth of 650 meters.
It is home to 37 species of mammals, 172 species of birds, 247 species of fish, and over 3,000 species of invertebrates – approximately 113 of which are either listed as threatened or endangered in Canada and the United States.
This paper evaluates the movement of barges carrying heavy crude oil (“dilbit”) derived from bitumen, or “tar sands,” within the ecologically rich but vulnerable waters of the Salish Sea.
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