A pipeline breach in northern Alberta late last week that resulted in about 28,000 barrels, or approximately 4.5 million litres, of oil being released into the surrounding environment should be a reminder of the dangers that could face the region with Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline project, says Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.
“This should be another nail in the coffin for any idea of a pipeline across BC, and unfortunately paints a pretty clear picture of what happens when you ship oil over land. And it should be noted that this spill happened in an area that is a lot less rugged than on the coast and the proposed route for Enbridge,” he said.
“Those that say spills don’t happen or that this project will be too modern, those people will be reminded that this is Russian roulette – you never know when or where a spill will take place.”
The leak in the 44-year-old pipeline, owned by Plains Midstream Canada, was first reported after a drop in pressure in the line on Friday and was repaired later that day. And while he said he wouldn’t comment on the specific situation with this spill, Enbridge Northern Gateway spokesperson Paul Stanway says that comparing that pipeline to the Enbridge project is not a fair comparison.
“The two are not alike at all … My understanding is the pipeline is 44 years old and technology has changed significantly since then. We’ll be using the most advanced technology available in the line,” he said, adding that any pipeline is still subject to approval following the ongoing regulatory review.
“We’re in the midst of that review which looks at our plans in detail, examines them in detail and asks all the questions that need to be answered…There will be public hearings that will test all of our assurances and engineering and we will be ready and look forward to that to show we are building the safest pipeline possible.”
The spill did result in the closure of schools in Little Buffalo Alberta, where residents also complained of nausea and headaches in the days following the leak.