Canadian Historial Review: A History of Oil Spills on Long-Distance Pipelines in Canada

Alberta averages two crude oil spills a day for decades and all the AER can do is “urge” companies to improve detection of pipeline leaks?

Pipeline spills are not the exception in Alberta, they are an oily reality, Since 2006, province’s pipelines have spilled the equivalent of almost 28 million litres of oil

Leaks and spills have been endemic on long-distance oil pipelines in Canada since the mid-twentieth century. Evidence from the National Energy Board (neb) pipeline incident reports reveal a track record of thousands of spills totalling millions of litres of oil across the country. What causes onshore oil spills? Why do they occur? Where have they occurred? What have been the environmental consequences of these incidents? This article explores the history of onshore oil spills on federally regulated long-distance pipelines since the mid-twentieth century. It argues that oil pipeline spills are an endemic characteristic of complex enviro-technical systems built primarily for economic efficiency rather than environmental protection.Based on the analysis of incident reports submitted to the neb, the article finds that, while frequent, onshore oil spills in Canada have been variable in scale and have had a wide range of potential adverse environmental effects, depending on location, product type, and volume. The causes of such spills have also been variable, conforming to no obvious pattern over time. Instead, oil pipeline spills have occurred most often in an unpredictable fashion, posing great challenges for policy development. These spills have also represented a proportionally small fraction of the total oil delivered on Canada’s long-distance pipelines, but, in absolute terms, this has meant the uncontrolled release of many millions of litres of oil into the environment.

Les fuites et les déversements sont récurrents sur les oléoducs à grande distance au Canada depuis le milieu du xxe siècle. Les rapports d’incidents impliquant des pipelines de l’Office national de l’énergie (ONE) révèlent que des milliers de déversements totalisant des millions de litres de pétrole se sont produits partout au pays. Quelles sont les causes des déversements terrestres d’hydrocarbures? Pourquoi se produisent-ils? Où se sont-ils produits? Quelles ont été les conséquences de ces incidents sur l’environnement? Le présent article étudie les déversements terrestres des pipelines à grande distance sous réglementation fédérale depuis le milieu du xxe siècle. Il soutient que les déversements provenant d’oléoducs sont une caractéristique intrinsèque des systèmes enviro-techniques complexes construits surtout à des fins d’efficacité économique plutôt que de protection de l’environnement. L’analyse des rapports d’incidents soumis à l’ONE révèle en effet que bien que fréquents, les déversements terrestres d’hydrocarbures au Canada ont eu une ampleur variable et des conséquences potentiellement négatives sur l’environnement selon l’emplacement, le type de produit et le volume. Les causes de ces déversements, elles aussi diverses, ne se conforment à aucun modèle qui ressorte au fil du temps. Les déversements d’oléoducs se sont plutôt produits le plus souvent de façon imprévisible, ce qui a beaucoup compliqué l’élaboration des politiques. Si ces déversements représentent également une faible proportion du pétrole total acheminé par les pipelines à grande distance au Canada, il demeure néanmoins qu’ils signifient le rejet incontrôlé de plusieurs millions de litres de pétrole dans l’environnement.

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“Freedom of Information?” Saskatchewan govt, after disrespecting Privacy Commissioner and wasting much of Regina prof Patricia Elliot’s time and money, finally releases 4,300 pages relating to Husky’s bitumen & secret chemical additives spill into North Saskatchewan River in 2016

Bonterra Energy Corp pipeline spills 40,000 litres (~250 barrels) oil into Washout Creek, which flows into North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton’s drinking water supply

No Duty of Care, Charter violating, Legally immune (even for acts in bad faith & gross negligence) AER fails again! Yet another crude oil pipeline spill into an Alberta waterway

Valero Energy Inc. fined $500,000 for spilling 200,000 litres heavy fuel oil into stream that flows into Saint-Lawrence River, and failing to comply with order to clean it up. Where’s the fine to Encana for illegally frac’ing and contaminating a community’s drinking water supply?

Issues order to Trilogy to stop using leaking oil-water emulsion pipeline at Fox Creek, which company had already done. Spill grown to five football fields in size

Trilogy oil emulsion pipeline spill in Alberta flowing wetland reaches size of four football fields

AER & Trilogy not prepared for the emergency! “Another” Canadian pipeline spills oil and pollutes fresh flowing water; Trilogy Energy Corp leaks oil into flowing wetland in AER’s Blanket Approval Frac Frenzy Pilot Project at Fox Creek

Happy Canada Day! Two more crude oil spills in Alberta from one Journey Energy pipeline. Second spill polluted a waterbody; Pollution cover-up enabler AER investigating

Update on Journey Energy Inc.’s Crude Oil Spill into Creek Near Winfield that Went Undetected for 3 Weeks, “Dozens of animals were later found dead”

Another oil spill in Alberta, this time under NEB’s “watch.” Officials investigating oil spill near Strathcona County Enbridge facility

Cumulative impacts from too much toxic oilfield waste dumped in water bodies, “spread” on pastures, cropland and roads? Over 200 cattle found dead in SW Saskatchewan pasture; Tests found 24,000 mg/l sulphate & 33,400 mg/l dissolved solids in dugout water. Chief veterinary officer suggests lack of rain & evaporation to blame

Authority Bias Protecting Big Oil & Gas? CN Rail fined $2.5 million for spilling 90 litres diesel into North Saskatchewan River; Will Husky be charged & fined for spilling 225,000 litres bitumen into it? Encana not charged, fined nothing for intentionally injecting 18 Million litres frac fluid and more of other fluids into a community’s drinking water aquifers while continuing to refuse to disclose the toxic chemicals in the mix

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?

Authorities still don’t know what caused Husky’s spill into N Saskatchewan River, or, don’t they want to let the harmed families and communities, and public know? Did Husky intentionally delay responding to the leak knowing the bitumen would sink, Intentionally delay to make nature carry the pollution burden?

That’s some water regulator Brad Wall has! Leaning on “hope” that water intakes shuttered by Husky’s secret chemical additive and bitumen spill reopen before winter; Response to massive Husky spill leaves Saskatchewan university professor concerned. “Was the cover-up good for you too?” Husky treats spill-poisoned James Smith Cree Nation abysmally.

Oil on and in the water: Husky’s toxic bitumen and chemical additive spill into drinking water of tens of thousands of Saskatchewan residents has many wondering if a similar disaster could strike Alberta. Why? It already has, repeatedly, with impacted Albertans living with and drinking the contaminated water

Livestock water supplies still a concern after oil spill, City of Prince Albert seeking millions from Husky. Hydrocarbons found in more water samples after Husky bitumen and diluent spill. Next Step? Deregulate Drinking Water Guidelines to meet Husky’s hydrocarbon pollution in the North Saskatchewan River?

Only in Canada! Wanna bet Husky gets fined nothing for contaminating North Saskatchewan River, drinking water of 70,000 Canadians, and misrepresenting its toxic bitumen & diluent spill?

Water undrinkable in parts of North Saskatchewan River after bitumen, diluent spill, samples reveal. Husky off the hook? Saskatchewan government “unlikely” to clean all of the spill. Have the chemicals Husky spilled with the bitumen been disclosed yet? Are samplers testing for them and are they sampling the river bottom?

Saskatchewan city planners beginning to decide what to do in case their river remains contaminated when winter approaches

Husky kills summer fun and is already prepping to evade clean-up of toxic bitumen and chemical spill in N. Saskatchewan River: “Nature’s gonna fix it so we don’t have to.” Is that a certified oil spill response?

Husky’s bitumen & chemical spill contaminating drinking water for 70,000 people (so far) in Saskatchewan. “Other than sharing ways to hide, alter, or destroy evidence to protect the guilty, how would the NEB help?”

How are you enjoying life without water so far? Welcome to Ernst’s world, ten years in. Husky’s toxic bitumen-chemical spill traveled 500 km (so far) in North Saskatchewan River contaminating drinking water supply to many, four communities declare state of emergency.

Join the Frac Club! Deregulation budget-cut style? “It’s a real nuisance. And for some it could become a real health issue. … Can’t drink, can’t shower, can’t wash your clothes.” Prince Albert declares state of emergency; constructs 30 km long drinking water pipeline as Husky’s massive toxic bitumen & diluent slick invades. Who pays for the damages? Saskatchewan averages two oil spills a day, just like Alberta!

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