Designating the northern B.C. coast as an ecologically sensitive region would go ‘much further’ than a tanker ban, an industry group told senators studying Bill C-48

Industry groups on Tuesday said Canada should replace its contentious oil tanker ban in northern B.C. with rigorous international regulations, arguing such a move would go much further in protecting sensitive marine areas along the coast.

Robert Lewis-Manning, president of the Vancouver-based Chamber of Shipping, said Canada should designate the northern B.C. coast as an ecologically sensitive region under the International Marine Organization (IMO), which would allow policymakers to craft highly focused marine transportation regulations to protect against potential oil spills and other accidents. The designation, called a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area or PSSA, could safeguard coastal waters while not explicitly discriminating against oil shipments, he said.

“It has the capacity or ability to manage risks that go much further than what this legislation is purporting,” Lewis-Manning said Tuesday. “It brings a very holistic approach to a complex issue.”

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