AER still trying to impress Supreme Court of Canada? Fines Pengrowth for a 2013 spill, nothing for Encana illegally frac’ing Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers

Alberta Energy Regulator fines Calgary company for 48-day oil pipeline leak  by John Cotter, The Canadian Press, January 14, 2016, Calgary Herald

The Alberta Energy Regulator has fined Pengrowth Energy Corp. $250,000 for a 2013 pipeline spill in northern Alberta.

Pengrowth Energy Corp. has been fined over a pipeline breach that spilled 537,000 litres of oil emulsion in northern Alberta over 48 days.

The Alberta Energy Regulator says the Calgary-based company failed to properly detect, report and deal with the spill near Red Earth Creek. The mixture of oil and oil well salt water leaked between Dec. 1, 2013, and Jan. 18, 2014, before the company became aware of the spill, it said.

Pengrowth has been fined $250,000 for breaching Alberta environment and public lands laws.

Rob Borth, the regulator’s director of enforcement, says in a report that Pengrowth lacked knowledge, training and management oversight of the pipeline.

He says those shortcomings included being able to detect leaks.

“Aggravating factors include indicators of the poor performance and operation of the pipeline were not well understood, incorrect assumptions were made by field staff and procedures were not followed,” says the report posted on the regulator’s website Thursday.

“I find Pengrowth lacked diligence concerning the failure to report the release, failure to remediate and for the loss or damage to public lands.”

Officials at Pengrowth were not immediately available for comment.

The regulator said the company has since cleaned up the area affected by the spill. [Encana hasn’t fixed Rosebud’s frac’d aquifers yet. When’s that going to happen?]

In 2013, the Energy Resources Conservation Board, the regulator’s predecessor, issued an enforcement action against Pengrowth over a 2011 pipeline spill near Swan Hills that sent about 117,000 litres of oily water into a creek.

The company was cited for operating the pipeline for more than a year under faulty construction practices before it failed.

The ERCB directed the company to immediately modify its construction management system to include clear definitions of roles, responsibilities, experience, and expectations of anyone involved in pipeline design, construction and inspection. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

2016 01 13: In Supreme Court, a Battle Over Fracking and Citizens’ Rights, Jessica Ernst’s long fight to challenge legislation putting energy regulator above the law reaches top court

2015 01 08: Charter Rights at Issue in Fracking Supreme Court Case, Jessica Ernst’s long battle over rights, well contamination reaches highest court ]

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