Oliver announces measures to calm public fears over pipeline safety - Macleans.ca

Oliver announces measures to calm public fears over pipeline safety


VANCOUVER – Major pipeline companies will have to prove they have access to $1 billion to cover the costs of an oil or gas spill under new rules announced by Nature Resources Minister Joe Oliver.

The federal government will also enshrine in law the “polluter pay” principle for oil and gas pipelines, to ensure taxpayers are not left on the hook for cleanup costs.

In Vancouver today to make the announcement, Oliver also says companies will have to appoint a senior manager to be held accountable for ensuring the company is in compliance with regulations.

As of July 3, under previously announced revisions, the National Energy Board will have the authority to directly fine companies up to $100,000 a day for infractions and individuals up to $25,000 a day.

The announcement comes two days after federal review panel hearings concluded on the controversial Northern Gateway project from Alberta to the B.C. coast, and one day after U.S. President Barack Obama cast doubt on the future of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline going south.

The oil industry says Canada is losing billions of dollars a year because western Canadian oil is not reaching lucrative Asian markets.

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Oliver announces measures to calm public fears over pipeline safety

  1. Steps in the right direction. “Access to” should mean a trust fund, so if the company goes under we aren’t stuck holding the bag. We may also want to confirm $1 billion is enough, and ensure there is a periodic review of and resetting of the amount required in trust.

  2. If the government wants to “calm my fears” (as if I’m a nervous ninny who needs a big daddy to reassure me) it should create a Superfund to deal with orphan sites. Up front commitments and maximum fines are useless when the last company left holding decrepit infrastructure is a shell company that goes bankrupt.

  3. Hey, “Oliver”, how about telling your province of Alberta to refine its sludge before dumping it on its neighbours? “Dilbit” = “diluted bitumen”. As soon as that “dil” hits the air, it evaporates, leaving the peanut-butter sludge of bitumen to sink into our rivers, lakes and oceans. Forget it – we don’t want this crud polluting and destroying forever our (so far) healthier environment. Refine it within your own borders – no one wants it as is. All the smarmy money in the world is meaningless if this sludge destroys our land.