ENVIRONMENT Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman have issued a conditional Environmental Assessment Certificate to Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corp. for the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery project.

The decision was made after considering a review led by British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office. The Environmental Assessment Office concluded that that the project is not expected to result in any significant adverse effects, based on the mitigation measures and conditions of the Environmental Assessment Certificate. A record of the factors that the ministers considered in making their decision can be found in the Reasons for Ministers’ Decision at: http://tinyurl.com/lrdbod7

The Environmental Assessment Certificate includes 64 conditions, which together with the design specified in the Certified Project Description, will mitigate potential impacts of the project. Each of the conditions is a legally binding requirement that Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corp. must meet to be in compliance with the certificate. It is also a legal requirement that Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corp. build and operate the project in accordance with the Certified Project Description.

Key conditions for the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery project include the following related to spill and fire prevention, preparedness and response:

* At least two escort tugs for each tanker and one tug for each cargo barge coming into the marine terminal.

* Vessels will be under the expert control of pilots specifically trained for the Fraser River environment.

* Specify that all aviation fuel delivery vessels using the facility are:

* Pre-screened through a tanker acceptance program before they enter Canadian waters;

* Double-hulled; and

* Insured for pollution liability at the prevailing industry standard and that coverage limits are sufficient to insure the potential liability of the vessel owner and operator to cover emergency spill response, clean-up, and environmental remediation and to compensate for loss by aboriginal food, social, and ceremonial fishers licensed under the Fisheries Act caused by a spill of aviation fuel from the vessel.

* Regular cleaning and integrity inspections during pipeline operation.

* Automatic leak detection system and automatic and manual shut-off systems.

* A Fire Safety Plan prepared and implemented in consultation with the City of Richmond Fire Rescue, the Corporation of Delta Fire, Provincial Emergency Services, and the BC Oil and Gas Commission.

*Firefighting systems at the fuel-receiving facility and marine terminal that will protect fuel transfer areas and storage tanks, including:

– A high-expansion foam fire protection system connected to a fixed foam storage and dispensing unit at the fuel-receiving facility;

– Automated fire detection systems; and

– A fire hydrant system.

Consistent with its enhanced compliance and enforcement program, the Environmental Assessment Office will co-ordinate compliance management efforts with other government agencies to ensure that the office is satisfied that certificate conditions are met.

Several major components and activities of the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery project were included in the environmental assessment:

* Upgrades to and operation of an existing marine terminal for receiving aviation fuel on the south arm of the Fraser River;

* Construction and operation of a fuel storage facility adjacent to the marine terminal on Vancouver Fraser Port Authority land;

* Construction and operation of a fuel delivery pipeline from the marine terminal to the fuel receiving facility and from the fuel receiving facility to the airport;

* Movement of vessels to and from the marine terminal within the south arm of the Fraser River, including fuel offloading and transfer; and

* Spill prevention, preparedness and emergency response.

Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corp. is a not-for-profit consortium of commercial airlines that owns and operates shared aviation fuel facilities at the Vancouver airport.

British Columbia’s environmental assessment process involves a rigorous, thorough review that provides for significant opportunities for First Nations, government agencies and the public to provide input on the potential for environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects from a proposed project.