Hotte, N. & Sumaila, R. (2013) How much could a tanker spill cost British Columbians? Environment, Development,and Sustainability. DOI 10.1007/s10668-013-9468-7


Ocean-based industries provide employment for nearly 30 % of the population in the North Coast region of British Columbia. Marine resource dependence has raised concerns about the possible economic impacts of a tanker spill along the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway shipping route, which would export 525,000 barrels (bbls) per day of oil, bitumen, and condensate from Kitimat, British Columbia, to international markets. This study uses current and projected future values of four ocean-based industries and the Enbridge Northern Gateway project to estimate total (i.e., direct, indirect, and induced) economic effects on total output, employment, and gross domestic product (GDP) and impacts on the regional economy over a 50-year period under three potential spill scenarios: no impact (no spill), medium impact (a 63,000-bbl spill), and high impact (a 257,000-bbl spill). The proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway project could produce total positive economic effects of $600 million in output, 5,700–8,400 person years(PYs) of employment, and $300 million in GDP in the North Coast region. A medium impact tanker spill could cause losses of $40–$190 million in output, 400–1,500 PYs of employment, and $20–$100 million in GDP, and a high-impact spill could cause losses of $90–$300 million in output, 1,650–4,500 PYs of employment, and $70–$200 million in GDP.

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