CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Companies operating major crude oil pipelines in Canada will be required to have C$1 billion ($954.97 million) available to fund clean ups from any spills, the Canadian government said on Wednesday.
Joe Oliver, Canada's minister of natural resources, also announced new fines that will soon come into force for companies and individuals that violate environmental laws. The fines will range from C$25,000 to a maximum of C$100,000.
Oliver was speaking in British Columbia, where the provincial government is insisting on world-class oil-spill and clean-up systems as one of the conditions for approving the construction of Enbridge Inc's contentious C$6 billion Northern Gate way pipeline project.
"British Columbia's government is conducting its own review of pipeline safety, and we are working with them," said Oliver. "These federal measures being announced today are a major contribution to the combined efforts of both levels of government on this issue."
Other measures unveiled on Wednesday included steps to ensure that the emergency and environmental plans of companies are publicly available and enshrining in law the "polluter pays" principal, which is currently only implicit.
The move is the third such measure for the Canadian government this month.
Earlier in June it raised the liability for oil spill clean ups off the country's east and Arctic coasts to C$1 billion from C$30 million and the liability for nuclear-plant operators to C$1 billion from C$75 million.
Reporting by Nia Williams. Editing by Andre Grenon