Polluter pay policy?

Environment Minister Terry Lake meets with industry officials today to discuss how oil and hazardous materials spills should be handled in BC.

Representatives from the Association of Petroleum Producers, the Energy Pipeline Association, Transport Canada, and the coast guard are among the 13 groups attending the roundtable on spill preparedness and response.

Lake says the province receives about 3,500 notices of environmental emergencies each year, ranging from home-based oil accidents to overturned tanker trucks, train derailments and spills on water.

He says it's time to overhaul policies to support a full polluter-pay system so taxpayers do not bear the burden of costly clean-ups.

The province is mulling concepts such as industry funding into government budgets and creation of a spill response fund to ensure money is available for immediate use when an emergency occurs.

Lake says BC is the gateway to Asia so there will be increasing movement of commodities through the province, and a world-leading spill response plan is mandatory

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