Husky report on oil spill to be released shortly

  • 18 Oct 2016
  • The StarPhoenix
  • ALEX MACPHERSON

Husky report on oil spill to be released shortly

The provincial NDP looks forward to poring over Husky Energy’s explanation of what caused one of its pipelines to fail this summer when it becomes public this week.

“We’re hoping we’ll get some answers to some of the questions I think everyone has, just in terms of the timing and the circumstances and exactly how the response was carried out,” Opposition NDP environment critic Cathy Sproule said.

The 16-inch pipeline spilled more than 200,000 litres of heavy crude near and into the North Saskatchewan River on July 20. It’s unclear when the spill was detected or exactly how much oil escaped.

Under provincial law, the Calgary-based company is required to submit a “detailed incident report” within 90 days of its initial report, which was submitted on July 26. The report is expected to contain details about the cause and timing of the spill.

Husky spokesman Mel Duvall said in an email that the company is on track to meet the 90-day deadline, and expects to file the report with the province “around Oct. 21.”

A Ministry of Economy spokesman said the province will “carefully review” Husky’s report, which is one piece of a broader investigation into the pipeline spill.

Sproule said while she’s eager to read Husky’s report, it doesn’t distract from broader issues about how pipeline regulations are implemented and enforced in Saskatchewan that have been raised by her party, activists and the provincial auditor.

The NDP has concerns about the Ministry of the Economy allowing companies to “police themselves,” and has been calling for an independent Alberta Energy Regulator-style watchdog since before the last provincial election, she said.

“The companies need to follow the law, but the government needs to ensure that the people are protected.”

Husky has “not been forthcoming at all” about the circumstances surrounding the spill, which underscores the need for an arm’slength pipeline regulator in the province, according to a spokesman for the Kisiskatchewan Water Alliance Network.

“The way the system’s set up right now, that’s got to be changed,” said Tyrone Tootoosis, a founding member and spokesman for the grassroots advocacy organization, which was set up in the weeks following the spill.

As Husky prepares to file its report with the province, the more than 900 people it contracted to help clean up the North Saskatchewan River’s shoreline are no longer working.

“The shoreline cleanup operation has been completed,” Duvall said in the email Monday afternoon. “Monitoring activities will continue through the winter and into 2017.”

Husky said last month its crews had collected 88 per cent of all oil estimated to have escaped from the pipe — a claim that one oil spill expert described as possible but “pretty optimistic.” The Ministry of Environment said that figure is now 93 per cent.

The ministry confirmed Monday that the shoreline cleanup is complete, and that the riverbed will be monitored over the winter until assessments and cleanup operations resume in the spring.

 

 

 

About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on October 18, 2016, in economic impact, oil, political. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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