British Columbia extends fuel rationing with more rain expected in flooded areas
The B.C. government has extended a 30-liter fuel purchase limit until Dec. 14 to preserve the supply of emergency and essential vehicles responding to heavy rains and severe flooding to hit the south -west of the province.
The order was introduced on November 19 and was originally scheduled to expire on December 1.
Rationing applies to both gasoline and diesel and limits buyers to 30 liters per trip to gas stations and fuel suppliers located in:
- Lower mainland
- Sea to sky region.
- Sunny coast.
- the Gulf Islands.
- Vancouver Island.
Essential vehicles will continue to have unrestricted access to fuel as needed, primarily using commercial trucking or keyed gas stations.
Trans Mountain pipeline still closed
Government officials have said continued rationing is needed as the Trans Mountain pipeline, which supplies southwestern British Columbia with 85% of its fuel for refining, remains closed due to recent flooding and mudslides.
“Trans Mountain is expected to be back soon, although it has experienced some minor setbacks,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.
“They need to make sure the pipeline can operate safely before re-engaging. The plan is to bring it back to reduced pressure, but they’re not yet ready to do that.”
In the meantime, the province imported additional gasoline and diesel from Alberta by rail and barge from the United States.
Ralston encouraged people to drive only when necessary, reduce their gas mileage and use public transportation.
40-70 mm of rain expected
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said rationing has been effective in overcoming fuel supply problems caused by recent extreme rains, flooding and mudslides.
“The people of this province did the right thing,” he said. “Everyone should be really proud. We were able to maintain emergency services and keep supply lines open.”
Farnworth said British Columbia is also extending the declaration of a state of emergency until December 14, with at least two more storms expected to hit British Columbia in the coming days.
Forecasts predict an additional 40 to 70 millimeters of rain will fall in flooded Abbotsford from Tuesday, with even higher amounts in the surrounding mountains.
“The system we are tracking is an atmospheric river from subtropical origins, the Philippines, and it will deliver a relatively strong punch similar to what we saw this weekend,” the Environment Canada meteorologist said, Armel Castellan.
“It’s not just a rainy event, it’s not just a snowmelt event, it’s also a successive stormy event … It will be problematic because [the storms] come so close back to back with runoff and saturated soil. ”