Saskatchewan Justice reviewing whether charges warranted in Husky oil spill. When will Alberta Justice review whether to charge Encana for illegally fracturing and contaminating Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers, and municipal and citizen water water wells?

Husky quotes on “learning” & “improving” safety

Husky quote about their March 2017 spill into Cox Hill Creek in Alberta:

Duvall said the cleanup is expected to be done in the next few days and then reclamation work will begin.

The leak was reported to Alberta Energy Regulator last Thursday.

‘We take every incident seriously and will use what we learn from this incident to further improve our operations,'” Duvall said Wednesday.”

Husky quote in February 2017 about their July 2016 spill into North Saskatchewan River

 

 

 

Husky “respect(s) that there is a process underway” and is improving the safety of its pipelines with geotechnical assessments and policies to ensure mandatory shutdowns a set time after alarms sound, Husky spokesman Mel Duvall said in an email.

 

Husky quote about their July 2016 spill into North Saskatchewan River:

“Mel Duvall said in an email to The Canadian Press that the summary provided by the Saskatchewan government appears to be consistent with the company’s own investigation.

‘As we have stated from the beginning, Husky accepts full responsibility and is using what we’ve learned from this incident to improve our systems and operating procedures.'”

Saskatchewan Justice reviewing whether charges warranted in Husky oil spill by The Canadian Press, March 23, 2017, Calgary Herald

Saskatchewan’s Justice Ministry is reviewing Husky Energy’s response to alarms before a major oil spill last summer to determine whether charges are warranted.

The department is also looking into a delay in shutting down the ruptured pipeline.

“I am deeply concerned about this … and I think our actions to date, and going forward … show that we’ve taken this very seriously,” Energy and Resources Minister Dustin Duncan said Thursday at the legislature.

The leak last July allowed 225,000 litres of heavy oil mixed with diluent to spill onto the bank of the North Saskatchewan River. About 40 per cent reached the river.

Government investigators say the leak began July 20, the day before the spill was discovered.

Investigators found that the pipeline’s alarms were warning of potential problems before the spill and continued until the line was shut down for scheduled maintenance at 7:15 a.m. on July 21.

Husky said last summer that pipeline monitoring indicated pressure anomalies at 8 p.m. on July 20 and the company started a shutdown at 6 a.m.

Duncan said he’s also concerned that the government was first told about the spill by a member of the public.

“It was the ministry that notified Husky that there was oil spotted by a resident of the province on the river. It wasn’t the other way around. They didn’t notify us first. We notified them.”

Husky Energy could face fines of up to $1 million a day under the Environmental Protection Act and $50,000 a day under the Pipelines Act.

When asked about the justice department review, a Husky spokesman said: “We respect that there’s a process underway.”

Mel Duvall said in an email to The Canadian Press that the summary provided by the Saskatchewan government appears to be consistent with the company’s own investigation.

“As we have stated from the beginning, Husky accepts full responsibility and is using what we’ve learned from this incident to improve our systems and operating procedures.” [Far too little, far too late]

Husky, which says it has spent $107 million on the clean up, has said the pipeline buckled because of ground movement.

The spill forced the cities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Melfort to shut their intakes from the river and find other water sources for almost two months.

Environmentalists have called for Husky to be fined for discharging a substance that could hurt the environment.

Hayley Carlson with the Saskatchewan Environmental Society said her group is happy that the investigation is being reviewed by prosecutors

“If charges were laid in this case, it would definitely set a precedent that the government of Saskatchewan is willing to take this issue seriously,” said Carlson.

The government says the Husky investigation has revealed that regulatory standards for pipelines that intersect with water need to be strengthened to address risks in those locations, slope movement in particular.

The government is also investigating another major oil spill that was discovered by a member of the public.

On Jan. 20, a band member from the Ocean Man First Nation in southeastern Saskatchewan found a 200,000-litre pool of crude on farmland.

The pipeline responsible, owned by Tundra Energy Marketing Ltd., is nearly 50 years old and there’s no record of it ever being inspected by provincial authorities. [Emphasis added]

‘I am deeply concerned about this type of incident’: Report into Husky oil spill turned over to prosecutors by Alex MacPherson,  March 23, 2017, Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Crude oil flowed into the North Saskatchewan River from a Husky Energy Inc. pipeline for more than seven hours before it was shut down for scheduled maintenance early on July 21, according to the provincial government’s investigation into the 225,000-litre spill.

Despite alarms from its leak detection systems, the Calgary-based company did not immediately halt the flow of oil, and it is now up to Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice prosecutors to determine if charges are warranted, according to the provincial government.

“I am deeply concerned about this type of incident,” Energy and Resources Minister Dustin Duncan told reporters in Regina on Thursday. “I think our actions to date and going forward … show that we’ve taken this very seriously.”

The province’s report won’t be made public until prosecutors finish reviewing it, but details released this week fill gaps in Husky’s investigation, which attributed the spill to ground movement, but was silent on the timeline and the firm’s response.

A private individual, who was crossing a bridge on Highway 21 east of Lloydminster, called the government around 8:30 a.m. on July 21 after seeing oil on the river, said Doug MacKnight, assistant deputy minister from the ministry of the economy.

Husky did not confirm the source of the spill until around 10 a.m., despite alarms from the leak detection systems in place on the 19-year-old pipeline, MacKnight told reporters on a conference call Thursday. He declined to say when the alarms began.

There are “varieties of reasons” why leak detection system alarms sound, but it should be incumbent on companies to verify “as quickly as possible” whether oil has been released and shut down the pipeline in question, Duncan said.

That the Husky spill and a 200,000-litre Tundra Energy Marketing Ltd. spill on Ocean Man First Nation in January were not discovered by the pipeline operators is “incredibly concerning” said Cathy Sproule, the Saskatchewan NDP’s Environment critic.

“If we don’t have a robust enough detection system that we have to rely on people happening by, we can do much better than that,” Sproule said. “There are a lot of pipelines in Saskatchewan and we’ve got precious waterways, so we really … need to be certain.”

The NDP has previously called for the establishment of an arms-length pipeline watchdog in Saskatchewan. The province’s pipeline regulations have also been targeted by provincial auditor Judy Ferguson in a pair of scathing reports.

Husky “respect(s) that there is a process underway” and is improving the safety of its pipelines with geotechnical assessments and policies to ensure mandatory shutdowns a set time after alarms sound, Husky spokesman Mel Duvall said in an email.

About 15,000 litres of crude remains unaccounted for, and work to assess the effects of spring breakup on the remaining oil is expected to begin next month, Ministry of Environment assistant deputy minister Wes Kotyk told reporters Thursday.

The government raced to examine major pipeline river crossings and introduce beefed-up pipeline legislation in the weeks after the spill. On Thursday, it introduced “compliance audits” for pipeline operators and said it was developing new river crossing standards.

“It’s fair to say, of course, that we’ve learned a lot through this investigation,” MacKnight said. He declined to comment on whether a more robust pipeline regulatory regime could have prevented the Husky spill this summer.

North Battleford Mayor Ryan Bater, who was a council member when the spill forced the city to shutter its river water intake, said the government has a responsibility to introduce and police measures that protect cities and towns along the province’s waterways.

“Our concern is that we don’t want this to happen again.” [But, it keeps happening, everywhere there are pipelines, again and again and again.]

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