Subject: Environment groups wait for charges in year-old Husky oil spill in Saskatchewan
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:04:14 -0600
How well I remember those days last year when the flames were destroying northern Alberta and a Husky bitumen slurry spill was raising havoc in Northern Saskatchewan! Certainly the mayors of Prince Alberta and Council stood out in their giant efforts to keep potable water available to their citizens along with North Battleford and Melfort!! The fact that this spill came on the heels of the Enbridge spill on the Kalamazoo River incident in Michigan –where again warning indicators were ignored—simply means the compliance applicable to Enbridge in Michigan was surely not “severe enough”!!
Knowing that Brad Wall Saskatchewan’s Premier relationship with the energy community– simply means we must call on our Federal Environmental and Justice folks to involve themselves to insure industry prove they can handle bitumen slurries in moving water?? Removing the idea that nature itself will clean-up what industry can’t is the sales job industry through those called professionals are peddling, but not many are buying!! The Kalamazoo spill is a good example where more than one government became involved and more than one issue was dealt with!! I don’t hold with holding up a cash fine due to other issues—as money is needed to repair the harm to fish population of Northern Saskatchewan!! I totally disagree that the industry should be involved at all in determining the level of any cash fines!!!! “Holy Hell”
who else gets to determine the amounts of cash levied to bring those guilty back to compliance?? This should be done immediately, other necessary changes with respect to the warnings- pipeline changes- and methods of containment- can be later addressed! The punitive part of the environmental damages should and must be addressed promptly!! [Emphasis added]
Stewart Shields, Lacombe Alberta
Environment groups wait for charges in year-old Husky oil spill in Saskatchewan by The Canadian Press in Financial Post, July 19, 2017, Calgary Herald
REGINA — A year after a major oil spill along the North Saskatchewan River fouled the water source for three Saskatchewan cities, an environmentalist says the company involved should get more than just “a slap on the wrist.”
Peter Prebble with the Saskatchewan Environmental Society says he hopes Husky Energy will be held to account after one of its pipelines leaked 225,000 litres of heavy oil mixed with diluent onto the riverbank near Maidstone, Sask. About 40 per cent of the spill reached the river.
The oil plume flowed hundreds of kilometres downstream and forced the cities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Melfort to shut off their water intakes for almost two months.
Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice isn’t commenting. It is still reviewing Husky’s response to alarms before the spill to decide whether charges should be laid.
“If it was just a matter of deciding on a fine, then I would think it wouldn’t be all that complicated at this point in time,” said Prebble.
“If the department is actually working on a larger settlement that involves upgrades to the safety of the oil pipeline system that Husky operates in the province, then that’s something that could take more time,” he said.
“If we don’t see that, I’ll be really concerned because Husky is a big company and the fine could just end up being a slap on the wrist.”
Husky (TSX:HSE) could face fines of up to $1 million a day under the Environmental Protection Act and $50,000 a day under the Pipelines Act in Saskatchewan.
There could also be federal charges under the Fisheries Act, said Dale Marshall, national program manager with the group Environmental Defence.
“It remains to be seen whether fines will be levied or not,” said Marshall, noting he would be surprised if they weren’t.
Marshall said it often takes more than a year for charges. He suggested they should be laid more quickly “in the interest of accountability and to send a clear message to other pipeline operators and oil companies that these matters are taken seriously and will be dealt with quickly.”
Marshall noted it took a couple of years before charges were laid in spills in Alberta.
Earlier this month, the Alberta Energy Regulator laid five charges against Nexen Energy (TSX:NXY) for a pipeline spill two years ago that was one of the largest in provincial history.
In June 2014, Plains Midstream Canada was fined $1.3 million after pleading guilty to environmental charges related to two spills: one in April 2011 and the other in June 2012.
In Saskatchewan, the statute of limitations for charges under The Environmental Management and Protection Act is three years. Marshall couldn’t say why it takes so long. [There ought not be any statute of limitations for environmental crimes like Husky’s, Plains Midstream’s or Encana’s (illegally fracturing Rosebud drinking water aquifers with 18 million litres of secret frac fluid)]
“There’s almost no doubt that if charges are laid, they will be determined through some sort of negotiation with the oil industry. I think that’s almost a given. They’ll have certain charges that will be laid in exchange for a guilty verdict.” [Will Big Oil Brad Wall allow charges to be laid against buddy Husky? Highly unlikely]
Part of the concern in the Husky spill is over how it was reported.
The government was first told by a member of the public who spotted oil on the river — not Husky. Government investigators later determined that the leak began July 20, the day before the spill was discovered.
They found that the pipeline’s alarms were warning of potential problems [Since when do oil companies heed their alarms warning of leaks? They just keep pumping to keep the money flowing to foreign investors, and sometimes even increase their pumping while serious leaks are ongoing] and continued until the line was shut down for scheduled maintenance at 7:15 a.m. on July 21.
Husky Energy has said pipeline monitoring indicated pressure anomalies at 8 p.m. on July 20 and the company started a shutdown at 6 a.m.
Husky’s own investigation determined that the pipeline buckled because of ground movement. The company has said it accepts full responsibility and is using what it learned to improve operations. [Except Husky is not improving operations, it just “says” it is, like all leaking oil & gas companies commonly say but don’t do]
Prebble said Husky should be required to install the latest spill detection technology, have automatic pipeline shutoff valves and install heavier walled pipes at river crossings.
“Those kind of measures are going to be important requirements.” [Yes, and Husky and other companies and regulators know about them, but they cost money. Heaven forbid! In pollute and pillage Canada, can’t dare protect communities, public health and environment when there are a few more dollars to rape out of the ground. Emphasis added]