Ottawa is on the verge of loosening the rules for oil spill clean-ups.
Bill C-22 is awaiting third and final reading in the House of Commons. It covers a number of issues regarding the oil, gas and nuclear sectors, including the use of dispersants.
Dispersants are a tool used in oil spill clean-ups. The chemicals dissolve oil particles into smaller pieces, break up surface slicks and allow oil to fall through the water column. One of the top three dispersants, Corexit, was heavily used in both the 1989 Alaska Exxon Valdez and 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico spills. It has subsequently been linked to health problems with clean-up workers. Although never used on a large scale in Canada, it is the industry’s dispersant of choice for major oil spills and is approved for use in Canadian waters.