VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC’s environment minister is toying with the idea of imposing a $5-per-barrel levy on the oil that would be funneled through a new Kinder Morgan pipeline.

The new tax could raise about a billion dollars for the province every year, and could be used for pipeline-related emergency response, should any spills occur.

But UBC professor of geography Simon Donner says a per barrel charge does nothing to address the consumption of fossil fuels.

“Rather than just have levies on one particular product that’s being moved through Vancouver’s port – that contributes to things like climate change – wouldn’t it make more sense to put a levy on carbon in general?” he asks.   

He says a Canada-wide carbon tax would be one way resource companies could be forced to consider the environmental costs of fossil fuel consumption.

“We’re trying to make these decisions about activities like building new pipelines, like expanding extraction in the oil sands, without any system to in place to whether it makes sense for the climate,”  Donner says.  

Washington State collects an emergency response levy on every barrel from Kinder Morgan in case of a spill.