For the Record: Government Decision on Richmond’s Jet Fuel Facility

Tankers like these could soon be frequently running up and down the Fraser River.

Tankers like these could soon be frequently running up and down the Fraser River.

1. NATURE AND SCOPE OF THE DECISION

Section 17(3) of the Act sets out the parameters for our decision. We:

were required to consider Environmental Assessment Office’s (EAO’s)
Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project Assessment Report (Assessment
Report) and accompanying Recommendations of the Executive Director;
and considered any other matters we thought relevant to the public interest in
making our decision on the Application.

We also needed to be satisfied that the Province had met its duty to consult, and
if appropriate, accommodate First Nations with respect to potential impacts of the
Project on their Aboriginal rights.

2. MINISTERS’ CONSIDERATIONS

2.1. Assessment Report, Certified Project Description and Recommended
Conditions

EAO, with advice from the project working group, reviewed the VAFFC’s
application for an EA certificate and documented its findings in the Assessment
Report. EAO is satisfied that the 64 recommended conditions and project design
aspects specified in the Certified Project Description will prevent or reduce
potential adverse environmental, social, economic, heritage or health impacts of
the Project, such that no significant residual adverse effects are expected.

EAO is satisfied that the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate First Nations
has been discharged for the Project.

2.2. Recommendations of the Executive Director

The Executive Director of EAO considered the Assessment Report, the Certified
Project Description, and the recommended conditions. The Executive Director
recommended that an EA certificate be issued for the Project.

2.3. Key Considerations

The following issues were key considerations in our decision to issue an EA
Certificate for the Project.

Marine Spill Prevention

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority concluded that tanker traffic risks involving
aviation fuel and other liquid bulk carriers in the Fraser River were acceptable
presently and in future scenarios modeled.

The Ministry of Environment stated that the recommended conditions for spill
prevention align with emerging policy and bolster the requirements contemplated
in their West Coast Spill Response Study

VAFFC is required to undertake the following measures to prevent spills:

 pre-screening of vessels through a tanker acceptance program;
 all vessels must be double-hulled;
 berthing/escort tugs for vessels;
 vessels under expert control of Fraser River Pilots;
 vessels will travel at slow speeds in the Fraser River;
 fuel unloading will stop if weather conditions or river characteristics
exceed pre-set operational limits;
 automatic and manual shutdown of fuel unloading equipment; and
 leak-free manifold connections.
With these spill prevention measures, the probability of a medium or large sized
spill would be rare and unlikely to occur during the Project’s lifetime.
In addition to VAFFC’s spill prevention measures:
 the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority escorts deep-sea vessels during
inclement weather to assist with safe navigation;
 communication is required between Fraser River Pilots with Canada Coast
Guard’s Vessel Traffic Services and the marine terminal while on the
Fraser River;
 the Fraser River has a sandy river bottom, making grounding less likely
and less hazardous; and
 the location of the marine terminal will reduce the time and distance that
vessels travel along the BC coastline compared to using the Westridge
Marine Terminal in Burnaby.

Marine Spill Preparedness and Response

The Ministry of Environment stated that the recommended conditions for spill
preparedness and response align with emerging policy and bolster the
requirements contemplated in their West Coast Spill Response Study. The
Project will result in a net increase in spill response capacity in the Fraser River.
The Canada Shipping Act requires that VAFFC deploy equipment and resources
to contain and control a spill within one hour of its discovery, and commence spill
response within six hours. VAFFC’s spill response measures will facilitate a
response in less than six hours.

In the unlikely event of a spill, VAFFC will have the following spill preparedness
and response measures in place before fuel unloading begins to enable rapid
spill response in the unlikely event of a spill:

 Oil Pollution Emergency Plan in place with Western Canada Marine
Response Corporation;
 booming protection of the fuel vessel at the marine terminal and at Ladner
Reach (in Delta, BC);
 on-site spill response and containment infrastructure, including permanent
deflection/containment structures, booms, sorbents, skimmers, temporary
waste storage;
 spill response infrastructure at key locations in the Fraser River; and
 two dedicated spill response vessels.

VAFFC is required to undertake the following measures to prevent spills:
 pre-screening of vessels through a tanker acceptance program;
 all vessels must be double-hulled;
 berthing/escort tugs for vessels;
 vessels under expert control of Fraser River Pilots;
 vessels will travel at slow speeds in the Fraser River;
 fuel unloading will stop if weather conditions or river characteristics
exceed pre-set operational limits;
 automatic and manual shutdown of fuel unloading equipment; and
 leak-free manifold connections.
With these spill prevention measures, the probability of a medium or large sized
spill would be rare and unlikely to occur during the Project’s lifetime.
In addition to VAFFC’s spill prevention measures:
 the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority escorts deep-sea vessels during
inclement weather to assist with safe navigation;
 communication is required between Fraser River Pilots with Canada Coast
Guard’s Vessel Traffic Services and the marine terminal while on the
Fraser River;
 the Fraser River has a sandy river bottom, making grounding less likely
and less hazardous; and
 the location of the marine terminal will reduce the time and distance that
vessels travel along the BC coastline compared to using the Westridge
Marine Terminal in Burnaby.
Marine Spill Preparedness and Response
The Ministry of Environment stated that the recommended conditions for spill
preparedness and response align with emerging policy and bolster the
requirements contemplated in their West Coast Spill Response Study. The
Project will result in a net increase in spill response capacity in the Fraser River.
The Canada Shipping Act requires that VAFFC deploy equipment and resources
to contain and control a spill within one hour of its discovery, and commence spill
response within six hours. VAFFC’s spill response measures will facilitate a
response in less than six hours.
In the unlikely event of a spill, VAFFC will have the following spill preparedness
and response measures in place before fuel unloading begins to enable rapid
spill response in the unlikely event of a spill:
 Oil Pollution Emergency Plan in place with Western Canada Marine
Response Corporation;
 booming protection of the fuel vessel at the marine terminal and at Ladner
Reach (in Delta, BC);
 on-site spill response and containment infrastructure, including permanent
deflection/containment structures, booms, sorbents, skimmers, temporary
waste storage;
 spill response infrastructure at key locations in the Fraser River; and
 two dedicated spill response vessels.

Project Benefits

The Project provides a reliable fuel source for the Vancouver Airport (YVR), and
will allow YVR to meet their projected future fuel demands. The Project will
contribute economically to the region through taxes and employment.
There will be a net reduction of regional greenhouse gas emissions as a result of
a shift from tanker trucks to fuel vessels. Project operations would result in
removing 1000 tanker trucks per month from BC’s roads, thereby eliminating the
existing risks of fuel spills from those tanker trucks.

The Project will result in a $110 million investment, and 762 person years of
direct, indirect, and induced construction jobs in BC. In addition to the
approximately 26,700 existing jobs at YVR, a new daily international flight
creates approximately 185 direct jobs, and approximately 465 more indirect and
induced jobs. The Project contributes to YVR’s role as a part of Canada’s Pacific
Gateway, and is aligned with the BC Jobs Plan.

3. CONCLUSION

We are confident that the prevention measures included in the EA will effectively
contribute to the prevention of an accidental fire or spill. After consideration of
the findings of the Assessment Report, Project design and the recommended
conditions, the Recommendations of the Executive Director, and the key
considerations as outlined in section 2 of these Reasons for Ministers’ Decision,
and having regard to our responsibilities under the Act, we issued a conditional
EA certificate for the Project. We note that the Project will be subject to
applicable permits and authorizations before the Project can proceed.