Hydrocarbon insurance fund would protect taxpayers

White Rock – The Editor, After reviewing the litany of recent “accidents” and disasters associated with the extraction, refining and transportation of the coal, natural gas and oil, I consider the future events quite probable.

Assuming that the current federal government rams through the proposed hydrocarbon plan for Canada, we can expect water, air and land to be polluted with known hazards to humans and wildlife.

Canada needs a “no-fault” insurance fund to ensure that all damage to property, human health/life and habitat are properly compensated with minimal legal involvement beyond proof of loss.

This fund should, at a minimum, be $100 billion. Contributors would be these corporations and firms in hydrocarbon exploration, mining, drilling, pumping, piping, refining, compressing and shipping by land or sea. This fund would comprise Government of Canada bonds and be administered by a board of trustees – two from the hydrocarbon industries, two from environmental interests and chaired by a retired federal judge chosen by the other four members. Another condition – no legal appeals allowed. Canadians should not tolerate or expect legal battles on the scale of the Exxon Valdez or BP Caribbean blowout which have reduced awards to aggrieved parties who were entitled to just compensation for losses, future and incurred.

Just one more condition – if the payments from the insurance fund should reduce the

fund balance below $75 billion, then the “contributors” would need to assess the risk balance between them and top the fund up to $100 billion.

This procedure would hold taxpayers harmless in cases of catastrophic hydrocarbon events or criminal negligence and cut appeal attorneys out of the action. The parties who cause the damages should pay for them – and without delay.

Charles Dubois

White Rock