Quebec premier Philippe Couillard said Wednesday that his province’s government is taking steps to address concerns that the steel plates on the barge used to transport oil from Alberta to refineries in Montreal are harmful to waterways.
The Montreal-based company responsible for the oil-tanker’s hulls, Pacific Maritime Holdings, had a major overhaul of the beryllium-rich steel plates that were used to keep the ship moving after it left Alberta last year.
The change led to a major safety and environmental problem, Couillard, a former business partner of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, told reporters in Quebec City.
A federal regulator in Ottawa has ordered the company to conduct a thorough environmental review and said it will also examine the potential effects on the waterways and lakes that serve Montreal.
Couillard also said he would seek the help of the Canadian Coast Guard and a Quebec government agency that regulates oil and gas operations to make sure the changes aren’t “toxic” to the environment.
“The changes that are taking place now, they are taking us forward,” Couillard told reporters after a meeting with Quebec premier Jean Charest.
“We are doing it in a very systematic way.”
The changes to the hulls are part of a plan by the Montreal-Dominion Bank Corp. to increase its output of crude oil and natural gas, as well as increase its production capacity in the wake of the massive oil price collapse in 2016.
The bank has said the plans are needed to maintain the stability of the global economy and its global position.