Unpaid fines, leaks and spills at volumes beyond worst case scenarios for Enbridge Inc.
The letter states that the NEB has reviewed the July 10 summary of a US regulatory body's critical assessment of Enbridge's handling of its 2010 oil spill in Michigan. The final report was released on July 25, 2010. The Vancouver Observer is awaiting confirmation from the NEB about whether the board members have received and reviewed the final report as of Aug 3.
NEB chairman Gaétan Caron also announced on August 1 that the Board plans to add new regulations for pipeline safety and enforce fines for safety violations. He reiterated the Board's plan to keep close track of Enbridge's safety procedures.
"In the next weeks and months, we will be conducting safety audits to review and confirm that improvements, particularly to their control room practices in Edmonton, are satisfactory," Caron wrote.
He reiterated that the Board plans to review the National Transportation Safety Board’s final report on Enbridge’s Line 6B rupture in Michigan in 2010 "to see what we can learn in the interests of public safety and environmental protection."
The NTSB's report found a complete breakdown of safety procedure around the spill in Michigan. The pipeline rupture and oil leak was not detected for 17 hours, and the NTSB said Enbridge employees acted like “Keystone Kops," a reference to incompetent fictional policemen featured in early 20th century silent film comedies. In its defence, Enbridge said that its employees tried to do the "right thing."
This also follows a "corrective action order" to Enbridge on Monday from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), another US regulatory body, following a ruptured pipeline that spilled about 1,200 barrels (190,000 litres), forcing two home evacuations and affected a drinking-water source four kilometres away in rural Wisconsin.
The PHMSA report stated that Enbridge found "multiple crack anomalies" in the piping since that leak, and said the company's integrity management system may be "inadaquate."
NEB plans to write new safety regulations, fine up to $100,000 per day for violations
Caron added that the Board has the power to levy Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) at companies for safety regulation violations. Companies can be charged up to $100,000 a day per safety violation, and individuals up to $25,000 per day.
There is no limit on AMPs, according to NEB spokesperson Rebecca Taylor.
"The Act stipulates that each day that a violation continues is considered to be a separate violation. This means that separate penalties could be issued per infraction, per day with no maximum total financial penalty," she wrote in an email to The Vancouver Observer.
The NEB describes itself as "an independent federal agency responsible for regulating pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest"."
It is responsible for an estimated 71,000 kilometers of pipelines across Canada and it promotes safety and security, environmental protection and efficient energy infrastructure markets under the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) and its regulations. The NEB states that it regulates companies and individuals using a "rigorous compliance monitoring and enforcement program."
The NEB will also write new safety regulations that will take effect as of July 6, 2013.
Brings on the jobs!
While much public attention has focussed on the safety risks of the Northern Gateway, the political showdown over the project has been largely about jobs and money.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark – responding to plummeting public support for the proposal – famously demanded that Alberta share some of the project's revenues in order to bring benefit to her province. And while First Nations and environmentalists reacted with dismay that their health and environmental concerns had been ignored, the question of jobs remained high – at least on the government and company's talking points.
But what jobs, exactly, would the Northern Gateway bring?
“Jobs and growth” is the Northern Gateway mantra. The federal government and media repeat Enbridge’s numbers as fact. But are they? In “Enbridge Pipe Dreams and Nightmares,” Marc Lee of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives finds Enbridge’s promises wildly optimistic.