Tax and clean

The provincial government may soon be asking businesses for some extra money to help clean up their own environmental messes. According to documents posted today on BC Bid, the environment ministry is looking for a consultant to prepare a report "on the creation of a sustainable funding mechanism to support the province's ability to prevent, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and remediate spills of petroleum hydrocarbons, hazardous materials or other products that if released to the environment would cause pollution as defined in the BC Environmental Management Act." The documents specifically state that funding mechanism must be something "other than government general revenue sources" - such as fines and levies/taxes.

Listed examples include the US EPA Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund - which imposes a "five-cents per barrel fee on imported and domestic oil" - and the Alaska Prevention Account - which is now financed with a four cent per barrel surcharge tax "imposed on all oil produced from each lease or property in the state." Also to be analyzed is Oregon's Senate Bill 105, which is expected to raise $750,000 for the state's oil spill program during the 2007-2009 biennium by increasing "fees for vessels." The following is a complete copy of the relevant portion of that document.

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SCHEDULE "A" - ITQ #

A) SERVICES

The contracted services will include:

A report and recommendations that meets the ministry's requirements as listed in the following terms of reference document:

BC Ministry of Environment
Environmental Emergency Program Sustainable Funding Mechanism(s)
Terms of Reference

The BC Ministry of Environment's (MOE) Environmental Emergency Program is currently conducting a comprehensive review of its existing environmental emergency legislation and powers to examine ways to fund program activities related to hazardous materials spills.

The Ministry of Environment is seeking a report and options on the creation of a sustainable funding mechanism to support the province's ability to prevent, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and remediate spills of petroleum hydrocarbons, hazardous materials or other products that if released to the environment would cause pollution as defined in the BC Environmental Management Act.

The successful bidder shall:

1. Prepare a report and provide recommended options regarding the creation of a sustainable funding mechanism(s) (other than government general revenue sources) that could be implemented by the Province of British Columbia to support the activities and initiatives of the Environmental Emergencies Program in relation to hydrocarbon and hazardous materials spills.

2. Ensure that the recommended options include those industries that produce, transport or store hazardous materials in substantive volumes. This should include consideration of the marine, pipeline, rail and truck
transport sectors in British Columbia or its coastal waters as well as fixed industrial facilities.

3. Ensure the recommended funding options enable the Environmental Emergency Program to utilize the funds generated to address the following components related to a hazardous / hydrocarbon spill release:

a. Prevention
b. Preparedness
c. Response
d. Recovery
e. Remediation

4. Consider the following examples of activities that the funding options could support, but are not limited to:

a. Creation of a terrestrial spill response cooperative
b. Provision of grants to First Nations and Local Government for spill prevention, preparedness,
response equipment and training
c. The creation of a British Columbia Spill Fund for use in response and recovery to spills
d. Provide additional resources for the Environmental Emergencies Program to meet its mandate
e. Establish and maintain an oiled wildlife response capability and capacity for the province
f. Support research and development activities related to hazardous material spills
g. Undertake additional hazardous material spills prevention and preparedness activities

5. Examine funding mechanisms of the following jurisdictions, but not limited to: Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska and California.

* The report must include a listing of the annual revenues generated by the indicated jurisdictions'
funding mechanism(s).
* The report will include an analysis of the following specific items as part of the review:

* US EPA Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund - five-cents per barrel fee on imported and domestic
oil.
* Canada's Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund (SOPF).
* California Office of Spill Prevention & Response (OSPR) current work in examining ways
to fund OSPR responses to inland spills.
* Alaska Prevention Account - used to fund Alaska's oil and hazardous substance prevention and response programs. Prevention Account was financed with a three cent per barrel surcharge and fines, settlements, penalties and interest thru March 31, 2006. Effective April 1, 2006, House Bill 3001C changed the surcharge tax of $.03 per barrel to $.04 per barrel imposed on all oil produced from each lease or property in the state.
* Oregon State's Senate Bill 105 - increase to fees for vessels. The higher fees are expected to provide approximately $750,000 for the oil spill program during the 2007-2009 biennium.
* Washington State's Report Providing Recommendations to the Governor, the Legislature and the DOE on State of the Art Oil Spill Prevention Program, Council Operations and Funding and Sustainable Funding for the Oil Spill Program
* Credit for Oil recovery compensation
* Oil Spill Advisory Council Funding (Oil Spill Prevention Account and the Oil Spill Response Account)

Please Note: The successful bidder shall inform the contract co-ordinator of any additional jurisdictions (i.e. provinces, states, countries etc) during the course of this review whose funding mechanism(s) may be applicable to determine whether it should be included as part of this review.

6. Include a review of the funding mechanisms utilized for the hazardous materials / oil spill response cooperatives including, but not limited to:

* Western States Petroleum Association;
* Western Canadian Spill Services;
* Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC - i.e. Burrard Clean), and;
* The Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization Incorporated.

7. Ensure the report analyses the advantages and disadvantages of collecting funds through various mechanisms such as:

* Fines
* Levies / Taxes
* Other

8. Consider funding options which may be a variation of those that are in use in other jurisdictions, a unique option, or a combination of options.

9. Evaluate and make recommendations as to whether or not existing provincial legislation is applicable for any of the recommended funding options, or whether new legislation would be required to invoke the
recommended funding options.

10. Provide an analysis of whether recommended funding options are sustainable.

11. Recommend funding options that are within the province's jurisdictional authority to enact.

12. Ensure the recommended funding options include the range of potential annual revenue which would be generated.

13. Provide an analysis of the administrative costs and human resource needs required to assess and collect the funds on an annual basis for each of the recommended options.

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