PCD to make tanker owners pay for spills

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The Pollution Control Department (PCD) is planning to enforce new regulations that will hold oil-tanker operators financially responsible for spills that harm the environment and affect the livelihoods of people working along the coast.

Ninety oil spills were recorded along the country’s coastline between 1973 and 2004. Chon Buri and Rayong have been the provinces most affected.

“We plan to demand compensation for cleaning up spills, rehabilitating the affected areas and for the loss of income for small-scale coastal entrepreneurs,” senior PCD official Pornsuk Chongprasit said at a meeting yesterday.

Also present at the meeting were 150 state agency representatives, including the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, and oil transportation executives.

Pornsuk said small-scale coastal entrepreneurs – such as those who rent out boats or deck-chairs – should be able to claim compensation for lost revenue after spills reduce the number of tourists.

Ramkhamhaeng University has been commissioned to draw up guidelines for calculating compensation, in line with the “polluter pays” concept.

“This should help ensure that the oil-tanker operators are more careful,” Pornsuk said.

In the past, she added, government agencies were forced to shoulder clean-up costs while tanker operators denied responsibility.

Pornsuk expressed hope that the new regulations would ease future negotiations over who should pay compensation for environmental damage.

Published on March 01, 2005

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