Kinder Morgan to pay US$316K fine
Kinder Morgan fined for risk management violations amid debate on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Kinder Morgan told The Vancouver Observer it has adequately addressed risk management concerns.
"Kinder Morgan has taken all necessary corrective actions to address the 2011 EPA violations received at the company’s Casper and Douglas Natural Gas Processing facilities located in Wyoming to ensure such issues do not occur again," said spokeswoman Emily Mir.
"We do not expect any impact of this issue on our Trans Mountain project. The Trans Mountain Pipeline has been operating responsibly in B.C. and Alberta for almost 60 years. Through the application of technology and sound management practices, we are committed to reducing the potential for spills from the pipeline," she said.
"Construction of the proposed expanded pipeline will include the latest standards for engineering, materials and equipment. We will apply our proven management systems, including operations and maintenance practices, and would expect continuous improvement of our safety performance."
“The company has agreed to establish new operating procedures, improve equipment maintenance, and perform integrity tests on pressure vessels to reduce the possibility of an accidental release of hazardous chemicals at both facilities,” read an EPA press release Thursday.
EPA inspectors said they found the Kinder Morgan facilities in the midwestern state's Casper and Douglas counties have “not adequately implemented regulations” stipulated in the Clean Air Act, which maintain that “facilities that contain hazardous and flammable substances above specified thresholds must develop and submit a risk management plan to assist with emergency preparedness, chemical release prevention, and minimization of releases that occur.”EPA authorities say that risk management violations pose a risk to public safety.
“Companies that use chemicals and substances which pose a potential danger are responsible for having a robust risk management program in place,” said the director of EPA's enforcement program, Mike Gaydosh.
“Failure to do so places the environment, employees, and nearby communities at risk.”
This month, Kinder Morgan is slated to start public consultations for a $4.1 billion project to double pipelines from the Alberta tar sands, running through Metro Vancouver to Bellingham, Washington. The move would more than double the pipelines' throughput of 300,000 barrels per day.
More than 60 percent of construction costs will be spent in BC, at a time when the province's post-recession unemployment rate hovers around seven percent, the company has said.
In little over a half a century of operation, there have been 78 spills on the Trans Mountain pipeline reported to Canada's National Energy Board (NEB), according to Kinder Morgan figures. Kinder Morgan maintains that all spills are cleaned up in conjunction with emergency authorities.
“On the pipeline itself, we've had very few incidents in a history spanning nearly 60 years. For us no spill is acceptable, but we have plans to respond, clean up, remediate and learn from every incident should one occur,” Kinder Morgan Canada's Ian Anderson told The Vancouver Sun.
“While we cannot promise there won't ever be a spill, we're doing everything we can to prevent spills.”