Red Deer River sour oil spill charges laid, Plains Midstream faces two counts two years after pipeline break [Why no charges against Encana for violating the Water Act, Environmental Enhancement and Protection Act and numerous directives when the company secretly and intentionally frac’d Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers? Is Mr. Protti now trying to make the AER “look” like a regulator to the courts and put riled up Albertans back to sleep? The AER was the ERCB and Alberta Environment and Water at the time of the Plains Midstream sour crude spill; it was the EUB and Alberta Environment at the time of Encana frac’ing Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers.] by Dan Healing, June 2, 2014, Calgary Herald
Environmental charges have been laid against Plains Midstream Canada ULC nearly two years after an oil pipeline failure that spilled 2,900 barrels of sour crude oil into the Red Deer River.
The company faces a federal charge under the Fisheries Act and a provincial charge for failing to report a release of crude oil from a pipeline, the AER announced late Friday. It is to make its first appearance in Red Deer Court Tuesday at 9:30 on the two charges. The leak came from the company’s Rangeland pipeline on June 7, 2012, and resulted in nearly half a million litres of oil being released. Last year, the AER launched an overall audit of Plains Midstream’s Alberta operations. The U.S.-based company had also had a pipeline leak in 2011 of 4.5 million litres of oil near Peace River in northern Alberta.
AER spokesman Darin Barter said Monday the audit is ongoing and the regulator’s extra oversight — every application must be approved by AER chief executive Jim Ellis — is delaying even routine applications from Plains Midstream.
“We look at every application they put forward and scrutinize it in light of all of the incidents and the concerns that we have,” he said. [While Encana gets regulator approval in one day to drill and frac under the already harmed Ernst property with a non-compliant application, and fracs more and more gas wells above the Base of Groundwater Protection near Rosebud’s already dangerously contaminated drinking water supply]
“Just generally, when you have the leadership of the AER looking at the applications themselves, it will take quite a bit longer than a routine application.”
In March, the Alberta Energy Regulator issued a report that concluded Plains Midstream didn’t inspect the Rangeland pipeline often enough, didn’t pay enough attention to government warnings, failed to enact adequate mitigation measures once the leak occurred and communicated poorly with hundreds of people affected by the spill in June 2012. “Plains failed to apply appropriate mitigation measures according to its own hazard assessment,” it said.
[Where is the regulator’s report on Encana illegally fracing Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers and diverting water from a gas well without a permit under the Water Act? What about Encana lying to Rosebud residents relying on that frac’d drinking water? What about the Wheatland County water manager sent to hospital seriously injured when the Rosebud water reservoir blew up in an explosion, caused by an accumulation of gases?]
The 2012 spill — which led then-premier Alison Redford to call for a review of pipeline integrity in the province — was discovered when landowners just north of Sundre began phoning in reports of smelling rotten eggs, the telltale odour of sour gas or sour oil. The spill was soon tracked to Jackson Creek, which flows into the Red Deer River. Heavy rains had recently swollen the flow in the creek to 10 times the normal amount. The regulator concluded the heavy flow eroded the riverbed around the pipe and exposed it. The pipeline then experienced a “guillotine failure” at a weld circling the pipe.
Although the report concluded there were no structural problems with the 50-year-old line, the investigation found the frequency of the company’s inspections met neither provincial rules nor its own guidelines. [What rules did Encana and other companies violate when frac’ing hundreds of gas wells above the Base of Groundwater Protection across the Horseshoe Canyon play in Alberta? And Encana specifically when frac’ing two fresh water aquifers at Rosebud? Commingling wells in multiple aquifers is prohibited in Alberta. Did that stop Encana?]
Plains also failed to take advantage of high stream flow warnings to isolate and purge the pipeline section, the report states. Booms to catch oil were set up downstream on the Gleniffer reservoir, a popular boating and recreation lake. The marina and campground were closed and fishing shut down.
Drinking water was trucked in for people in 750 recreation lots and permanent homes. [Why was drinking water not trucked in for everyone at Rosebud after Encana frac’d directly into the aquifers?]
Rafting, fishing and guiding businesses were affected.
More than 170 people were at one time cleaning up the 475,000-litre spill with lake-surface skimmers and absorbent pads along the creek.
In a statement in March, Plains Midstream said the company is reviewing the regulator’s report and is working to meet its requirements. [Why not just bite the bullet and meet the requirements?]
Barter said the charges are the first the AER has laid since taking over that responsibility from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development on March 29. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
2012, Encana drilling yet another deviated (50% more risk of gas leakage) shallow gas well to be frac’d above the Base of Groundwater Protection at Rosebud. Red Barn-shaped building (pink arrow) is above the new Rosebud water reservoir. The original blew up in January 2005, after Encana frac’d the community’s drinking water aquifers in 2004.
Investigators determined that an “accumulation of gases” caused the explosion. Still the AER (previously EUB or ERCB) approved(s) more and more gas wells frac’d above the Base of Groundwater Protection and the 2-13-27-22-W4M gas well drilled under the Ernst land, applied for by Encana in non-compliance, approved by the “regulator” in one day.
Source of above snap: FrackingCanada The Last Road to Redemption