NEB conducting safety audit of Enbridge

The National Energy Board is following up a highly critical report by the US National Transportation Safety Board on the Marshall, Michigan spill by conducting an overall safety audit of Enbridge pipeline management and practices.  The NEB says the review began even before the NTSB report was released:

even prior to the release of the final report, we have been reviewing Enbridge’s management practices. 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.

In a letter to the public from NEB chair, Gaétan Caron, posted on the NEB website, the agency says: “Pipeline safety is and always has been of paramount concern to the National Energy Board and we recognize it is of growing concern to Canadians.”

The letter goes on to say:

Given recent events, it is important that Canadians understand how we hold companies accountable for public safety and protection of the environment and take swift and appropriate action when they do not.

The Board takes a proactive approach to preventing spills and releases, with the ultimate goal of seeing none at all. We require pipeline companies to anticipate, prevent, manage and mitigate potentially dangerous conditions associated with their pipelines.

To do this, we conduct compliance verification activities which include things such as inspections, compliance meetings, emergency exercises, audits and investigations on a regular basis with all companies we regulate. In the specific case of Enbridge, in recent years the NEB has conducted approximately 25 compliance verification activities per year, focusing on every aspect of their management system. In addition, the NEB imposed two precautionary pressure restrictions on Enbridge pipelines, one in 2010 and another in 2011, which remain in effect.

When the NEB identifies deficiencies in a company’s systems, projects or programs, we require the company to immediately implement changes to correct those deficiencies or to develop a corrective action plan for NEB approval. It is important to note that we aim to prevent incidents from occurring in the first place and we will take all available actions at our disposal to protect the environment and the public. The NEB may revoke authorizations, impose safety orders that restrict operations, issue stop-work orders and monetary penalties as well as pursue criminal prosecution.

The NEB has also reviewed the synopsis of the National Transportation Safety Board’s 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. A thorough review of the final report will be conducted in order to identify all lessons that may be applied to pipelines and companies under the Board’s jurisdiction, however even prior to the release of the final report, we have been reviewing Enbridge’s management practices. 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.

The NEB goes on to stay that Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (formerly Bill C-38) is giving the agency more bight:

 the Government of Canada will be adding another tool to our compliance and enforcement toolkit: administrative monetary penalties (AMPs). The new AMP sections in the NEB Act set out the maximum daily penalties for both individuals and companies. For individuals the maximum daily penalty is $25,000 for each violation and for companies the maximum daily penalty is $100,000 per violation.

The Act stipulates that each day 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.

Some of the details of the AMPs design are described in the government amendments to the NEB Act, but other details, such as what activities will be considered violations, will be written in a new regulation. We have committed to have these new regulations ready to use by July 6, 2013.

The NEB says it will continue to make public any enforcement measures it takes.

As a part of our Action Plan on Safety and Environmental Protection, we began posting all documents related to Board-initiated safety and environmental compliance actions to our website in fall of 2011.

The Board is committed to continually improving the way we do business and we welcome any opportunity that allows us to do so in the interests of pipeline safety and environmental protection.

Enbridge has not yet responded to the NEB release.

Haisla ask Gateway JRP to force Enbridge to release more Kalamazoo spill information

The Haisla Nation have asked the Northern Gateway Joint Review panel to force Enbridge to reveal more information about the pipeline rupture and oil spill near Kalamazoo, Michigan, in July 2010. The Haisla are also asking for more and better information about the $500 million project upgrades that Enbridge announced last month.

In a notice of motion filed July 30, with the JRP, lawyers representing the Haisla Nation note that they had previously asked Enbridge “a number of questions relating to Enbridge’s spill of 3,785,000 litres of diluted bitumen into the Kalamazoo River at Marshall, Michigan (the ‘Kalamazoo Spill’).”

The notice then notes that “Northern Gateway refused to reply as the matter was under investigation by the United States National Transportation Safety Board… The NTSB’s Accident Report was adopted on July 10, 2012 and has now been released to the public. The basis for Northern Gateway’s refusal to answer the Haisla Nation’s information requests is, therefore, no longer present.”

The Haisla are asking the JRP

that Northern Gateway is required to file evidence relating to the Kalamazoo Spill
which identifies the cause of the pipeline rupture and the extent to which
Enbridge’s pipeline maintenance, monitoring and response approach caused and
contributed to the volume of the spill by a date to be fixed by the Panel;

As for the upgrades, the Haisla notice of motion notes

Northern Gateway has identified additional design features, which it states will “enhance the safety and reliability of the pipelines over and above standard industry practice”. The design features identified in the Reply Evidence include increased wall thickness of the pipeline, additional increases in pipe thickness for crossings at major tributaries to the Fraser, Skeena and Kitimat River, the placement of remotely operated isolation valves on each side of major tributaries of the Fraser,Skeena and Kitimat Rivers, and dual remote monitoring systems ….
Northern Gateway has not provided any details relating to these proposed design
features. Their relevance and suitability to enhancing safety and reliability of the
pipelines cannot, therefore, be assessed.

The motion asks

that Northern Gateway is required to provide details of its proposed additional
design features for thicker pipes for the pipeline generally and at identified
watercourse crossings, for additional valve placements, and for additional remote
monitoring, as well as all studies and reports that support how these additional
design features enhance pipeline safety, by a date to be fixed by the Panel.

The Haisla motion also asks for more details on various environmental and other questions.

The Joint Review Panel has not yet ruled on the Haisla motion.

Haisla Nation Notice of Motion  (pdf)

New US report slams Enbridge for spill record, as scientific investigation opens into diluted bitumen

A new US report is slamming Enbridge for its record on oil spills, just as the BC government set out strict new conditions for building pipelines and tanker traffic in the province.

The United States National Wildlife Association issued a report today called Importing Disaster, The Anatomy of Once and Future Oil Spills. (pdf of report at the bottom of this page)

At the same time,  the US Academy of Sciences has opened a new investigation into diluted bitumen.




A letter critical of Enbridge, previously overlooked by the US media is getting new traction, as the anniversary of the Marshall, Michigan, Kalamazoo River spill approaches on July 25.

Enbridge, so far, has not responded to the National Wildlife Federation report.

The environmental group opens the report by saying:

As the biggest transporter of Canadian tarsands oil into the U.S., Enbridge has aresponsibility to the American public to manage their operations in a manner that protects our comm unities and natural resources. But tarsands oil is a very different beast than conventional crude oil, and it is difficult to transport the former safely through pipelines that were designed for the latter. That’s because tarsands oil is more corrosive(due to its chemical mixture)and abrasive(due to high-gritminerals), weakening the pipes to the point  that they are more susceptible t oleaks and ruptures. Remarkably, there are no standards in place to ensure that new pipelines are built, maintained and operated with this fact in mind.

The National Wildlife Association goes on to say:

 fossil fuel companies have a ‘stranglehold’ on our political establishment, preventing even modest initiatives that could make our energy safer and cleaner. That lobby strategy keeps in place a system that’s led to 804 spills by Enbridge alone in the last decade, and a total of 6,781,950 gallons of oil spilled in the U.S. and Canada.

“Rather than focus on safety and cleanup, Enbridge is recklessly moving ahead with plans to expand their pipeline network in the Great Lakes region and the Northeast, and to double down on high carbon fuel that is proving nearly impossible to clean from Michigan’s waters,” said Beth Wallace, NWF’s Great Lakes outreach advisor.

NWF’s report recommends comprehensive reforms to break the cycle of spills and pollution that continue to threaten communities and speed global warming.  Among them, the report calls for stronger safety standards that account for increased dangers associated with heavy tar sands oil, increasing investment in clean energy and efficiency, and campaign and lobbying reforms that would put impacted citizens on a level playing field with Big Oil in the halls of Congress.

The NWF report then says:

 The Kalamazoo spill may have been a poster child for corporate negligence but it is far from the company’s only black mark. According to Enbridge’s own reports, between 1999 and 2010, they have been responsible for at least 800 spills that have released close to seven million gallons of heavy crude oil into the environment — or approximately half the amount of oil that spilled from the Exxon Valdez in 1989.

Canada has seen its own share of Enbridge heartache, including a 61,000 gallon spill earlier this summer near Elk Point, Alberta.

The National Wildlife Federation report is calling for  stronger pipeline safety standards that account for the dangers of transporting bitumen sands oil from Canada amd wants more rigorous reviews of all pipeline projects. The report calls bitumen sands oil “the planet’s dirtiest oil.”

US media covering the National Wildlife release and looking to the anniversary of the Kalamazoo disaster, are now quoting an overlooked letter from the US advocacy group Public Citizen issued on June 25.  

Concerned about Keystone XL pipeline, the advocacy group sent a letter to the Texas House of Representatives, recommending that the state should not wait for US federal rules to prevent tar sands pipeline spills. Public Citizen called the industry’s track record “troubled” and asked the committee to take up legislation that would give Texas broader authority over pipelines.

The committee will examine state regulations governing oil and gas well construction and integrity, as well as pipeline safety and construction, to determine what changes should be made to ensure that the regulations adequately protect the public. Public Citizen will testify in support of stronger rules for the Seaway pipeline (an existing line repurposed to carry tar sands instead of crude oil), the Keystone pipeline (whose southern leg is not yet built) and proposed future tar sands pipelines.

“These companies keep calling it petroleum, but it’s not – these are pipelines of poison,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office.

The media reports on the NWF release are pointing to a new investigation by the US National Academy of Sciences on the safety of diluted bitmenl safety in the United States, that will be part of a report to the US Congress

 An ad hoc committee will analyze whether transportation of diluted bitumen (dilbit) by transmission pipeline has an increased risk of release compared with pipeline transportation of other liquid petroleum products.  Should the committee determine that increased risk exists, it will complete a comprehensive review of federal hazardous liquid pipeline facility regulations to determine whether they are sufficient to mitigate the increased risk.

On June 25, the committee added three industry experts to the panel as there is growing scrutiny over dilbit in the US, which could become an issue in the presidential race.

NWF Enbridge Oil Spill (PDF)

Enbridge files thousands of pages in document dump reply evidence to Northern Gateway JRP

Enbridge Northern Gateway has filed thousands of pages of “reply evidence” to the Northern Gateway Joint Review panel, responding to questions from the panel, from government participants like DFO, and intervenors.

Enbridge also used the filing to issue a news release saying it is adding $500 million in new safety features for its pipeline plans.

Northern Gateway Pipelines Reply_Evidence_  (summary of filings PDF)

Link to 43 item  reply filing on JRP website.

In the introduction to the summary of the evidence the JRP asks

Should the fact that Northern Gateway does not respond to all points in a particular intervenor’s evidence or to all intervenor evidence be taken as acceptance by
Northern Gateway of any of the positions of intervenors?

To which Enbridge replies:

No. Northern Gateway does not accept any of the intervenor positions that are contrary tothe Application or additional material filed by Northern Gateway. Some of those  positions will be dealt with by Northern Gateway in cross examination and argument rather than reply evidence, and others will simply be left to the JRP to determine on the basis of the filed evidence alone.

Related: Vancouver Sun: Christy Clark toughens pipeline stance as Enbridge announces safety upgrades


The reply covers a multitude of topics including

  • Economic Need and the Public Interest
  • Engineering
  • Avalanche Risk and Groundwater Concerns
  • Corrosivity of Diluted Bitumen
  • Improvements Since the Marshall Incident
  • Geotechnical Concerns
  • Geohazards Issues
  • Seismic Design Concerns
  • Recovery of Biophysical and Human Environment from Oil Spills
  • Corrosion, Inspection and Maintenance of Oil Tankers
  • Design and Construction of Oil Tankers
  • Pilotage

In response to numerous questions about the Marshall, Michigan, oil spill, Enbridge repeats what it said in an e-mail to “community leaders” earlier this week and in this morning’s news release, saying: “Enbridge has made a number of improvements since the Marshall incident.”

As part of the filing Enbridge has also filed an update on its aboriginal engagement program.

There are also detailed and updated reports on the company’s plans for the Kitimat valley region.

Enbridge responds to NTSB criticism in e-mail to northwest BC “community leaders”

Enbridge Northern Gateway has issued a detailed reply to the criticism of its operations contained in a preliminary report from the US National Transportation Safety Board to the 2010 oil spill at Marshall, Michigan, which called the company’s response like the silent movie era “Keystone cops.”

The note from Michele Parrett,  Senior Manager, Community and Municipal Relations for Northern Gateway was sent to members of the District of Kitimat Council and presumably other politicians and community leaders along the proposed pipeline route.

The document was among those routinely released to the public at the regular council meeting on Monday, July 16, 2012 and is a much more detailed defence of Enbridge’s position than the news release issued after the NTSB report.

In the e-mail, Enbridge says it has updated its safety and response procedures and its corporate culture since the Michigan incident.

Despite widespread criticism of Enbridge from all sides of the political spectrum, that NTSB report does not seem to have had any impact on federal Environment Minister Peter Kent, who told The Canadian Press had had not yet read the NTSB report. Kent also said that unread report will not change the Conservative government’s mind about the Northern Gateway pipeline project, adding “Pipelines are still, by far, the safest way to transport petrochemicals in any form.”


 Overview of NTSB Report  into Line 6B  incident at Marshall, Michigan

July 12, 2012

Dear Community Leader,

I’m writing you today to provide information regarding the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) release of its conclusions and recommendations yesterday, with regard to the Enbridge pipeline leak in Marshall, Michigan in July 2010.

Enbridge has not been waiting for the NTSB’s report before furthering to improve our safety standards. Since the incident we have undertaken our own internal investigation and incorporated the findings of that investigation into new practices and processes to improve our safety and reliability.

Enbridge and Enbridge Energy Partners has been working with the NTSB and other regulators throughout the course of the investigation so that we can take the necessary steps to prevent such an accident from occurring again. We are now reviewing the NTSB reports in detail to determine whether any further changes are required.

Enbridge has already implemented, in 2010 and 2011, appropriate operational and procedural changes based on its own detailed internal investigation. Enbridge’s overarching objective and business priority is to ensure the safety and reliability of our delivery systems for the people who live and work near our pipeline systems across North America, our employees and our customers.

In direct response to the Marshall accident, or as part of our ongoing improvement initiatives and activities, Enbridge has taken the following steps:

Pipeline and Facility Integrity

· Further heightened the importance of our pipeline and facility integrity program.

· Re-organized the functional areas that are responsible for pipeline and facility integrity.

· Substantially increased capital and operating budgets associated with maintenance and integrity programs.

· Undertook hundreds of internal inspections and thousands of investigative digs.

· Placed a renewed emphasis on the safety of our overall system.

Leak Detection

· Established the Pipeline Control Systems and Leak Detection department, doubling the number of employees and contractors dedicated to leak detection and pipeline control.

· Enhanced procedures for leak detection analysis.

· Updated control room management procedures.

· Implemented a Leak Detection Instrumentation Improvement Program to add and upgrade instrumentation across our system.

Pipeline Control and Control Centre Operations (CCO)

· Developed a Control Room Management (CRM) plan based on the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations and implemented a number of the sections, October 1, 2011, remaining sections implemented by August 1, 2012.

· Revised and enhanced all procedures pertaining to decision making, handling pipeline start-ups and shutdowns, leak detection system alarms, communication protocols, and suspected column separations.

· Changed organizational structures to better align, focus and manage employees’ span of control and workloads.

· Augmented CCO (Control Centre Operations) staff, adding training, engineering and operator positions.

· We also completed the design and construction of a new, world-class CCO in Edmonton, Alberta which was underway at the time of the accident.

Public Awareness

· Reviewed and strengthened Public Awareness Programs in the U.S. and Canada.

· Developing an industry-leading online and in-person training tool to provide Enbridge-specific information to emergency responders.

· In the U.S, we:

o Formalized the U.S. Public Awareness Committee.

o Improved the Program Effectiveness Evaluation process.

o Provided annual employee training for field employees across the company’s U.S. operations.

o Created a Public Awareness Hotline.

· In Canada, we:

o Formalized the Canadian Public Awareness Committee.

o Are creating a Canadian Public Awareness Database.

o Improved the landowner/tenant database.

o Developed a landowner newsletter.

o Established Community Relations positions in each region.

Emergency Response

· $50 million spent between 2012 and 2013 (projected) to improve our equipment, training and capabilities.

· Develop better tools for waterborne spills.

· In 2011, a cross-business unit response team was created for large-scale events requiring more resources that a single region could provide.

· In 2011, created a dedicated Emergency Response group in Operation Services for increased regional support.

· Conducting an Emergency Response preparedness assessment to enhance abilities to more rapidly respond and contain a significant release.

Safety Culture

· Reinforced a high level of safety and operational integrity across Enbridge in integrity management, third-party damage avoidance and detection, leak detection, incident response capacity, worker and contractor occupational safety, public safety and environmental protection.

· Implemented “Lifesaving Rules” and training for all Enbridge employees and contractors. The Lifesaving Rules are applicable to all employees and contractors, and are communicated, clarified and reinforced across all business units at Enbridge.

· Introduced new Safety Culture training sessions for all employees.

Over the past two years we have made significant improvements in the above areas. The NTSB’s findings will provide us with regulatory guidance and important information to help improve our performance and achieve our goal of zero spills.

We remain committed to a respectful, open and transparent review and discussion of the Northern Gateway Project. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of the Northern Gateway team at the information provided below.


Michele Perret

Senior Manager, Community and Municipal Relations

Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines

Enbridge files massive river oil spill study with the Joint Review Panel

Kitimat River map from Enbridge study
A Google Earth satellite map of the Kitimat River used as part of Enbridge Northern Gateway’s oil spill modelling study.

Enbridge Northern Gateway today filed a massive 11-volume study with the Joint Review Panel outlining possible scenarios for oil spills along the route including the Kitimat and Morice Rivers in British Columbia.

The study, carried out by three consulting firms, Stantec Consuting and AMEC Environmental & Infrastructure both of Calgary and RPS ASA of Rhode Island, is called “Ecological and Human Health Assessment for Pipeline spills.”

Overall the models created by study appear to be extremely optimistic, especially in light of recent events, such as the damning report on by the US
National Transportation Safety Board and the finding of violations by the US Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration with Enbridge operations during the 2010 Marshall, Michigan, spill and subsequent cleanup difficulties encountered by Enbridge.

The executive summary of the report begins by saying

This document presents conservatively developed assessments of the acute and chronic risk to ecological and human receptors in the unlikely event of a full bore pipeline break on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project. Three representative hydrocarbon types (condensate, synthetic oil
and diluted bitumen) were evaluated with releases occurring to four different rivers representing a range of hydrological and geographic characteristics, under both low-flow and high-flow conditions. The analysis indicates that that the potential environmental effects on ecological and human health from each hydrocarbon release scenario could be adverse and may be significant. However, the probability of the releases as considered in the assessment (i.e., full bore rupture, with no containment or oil recovery) is low, with return periods for high consequence watercourses ranging from 2,200 to 24,000 years. Therefore, the significant adverse environmental effects as described in this report are not likely to occur.

So the study says that it is “conservative” that means optimistic, that a full bore pipelink break with no containment or recovery is “an unlikely event” and would probably occur every 2,200 and 24,000 years. Not bad for a pipeline project that is supposed to be operational for just 50 years.

The summary does caution:

The analysis has also shown that the outcomes are highly variable and are subject to a great many factors including the location of the spill, whether the hydrocarbons are released to land or directly to a watercourse, the size of the watercourse, slope and flow volumes, river bed substrate, the amount of suspended particulate in the water, environmental conditions (such as the time of year, temperature and wind speeds, precipitation, etc.), the types of shoreline soils and vegetative cover and most significantly, the type and volume of hydrocarbon released.

The highly technical study is Enbridge’s official response to those intervenors who have “requested additional ecological and human health risk assessment studies pertaining to pipeline spills” and a request from the Joint Review Panle for more information about “the long term effects of pipeline oil spills on aquatic organisms (including the sensitivity of the early life stages of the various salmon species), wildlife, and human health.”

The report presents modelling on the release of three hydrocarbons, diluted bitumen, synthetic oil and condensate at four river locations along the pipeline route for their potential ecological and human health effects, under two flow regimes (i.e., high and low flow), broadly representing summer and winter conditions.

Modelling was done for four areas:

• Chickadee Creek: a low gradient interior river tributary discharging to a large river system
located up-gradient from a populated centre within the Southern Alberta Uplands region
• Crooked River: a low gradient interior river with wetlands, entering a lake system within
the Interior Plateau Region of British Columbia
• Morice River: a high gradient river system along the western boundary of the Interior
Plateau Region of British Columbia
• Kitimat River near Hunter Creek: a high gradient coastal tributary discharging to a large
watercourse with sensitive fisheries resources, downstream human occupation, and discharging to the Kitimat River estuary

In one way, the study also appears to be a partial victory for the Kitimat group Douglas Channel Watch because the model for the Kitimat River is based on a spill at Hunter Creek, which has been the subject of extensive work by the environmental group, but the consulting study is markedly optimistic compared to the scenario painted by Douglas Channel Watch in its presentations to District of Kitimat council.

The study describes the Kitimat River:

The hypothetical release location near Hunter Creek is southwest of Mount Nimbus, in the upper Kitimat  River watershed, and flows into Kitimat River, then Kitimat Arm, approximately 65 km downstream. The area is in a remote location and maintains high wildlife and fisheries values. The pipeline crossing near Hunter Creek is expected to be a horizontal direction drilling (HDD) crossing. The release scenario
assumes a discharge directly into Kitimat River…

The streambed and banks are composed of coarse gravel, cobbles and boulders. Shoreline vegetation (scattered grasses and shrubs) occurs in the channel along the tops of bars. Vegetation is scattered on the channel banks below the seasonal high water mark and more developed (i.e., grasses, shrubs and trees) bove the seasonal high water mark.

Wildlife and fish values for the Kitimat River are high: it is important for salmon stocks, which also provide important forage for grizzly bears, bald eagles and osprey on the central coast. The Kitimat River estuary, at the north end of Kitimat Arm, also provides year-round habitat for some waterbirds and seasonal habitat for staging waterfowl.

There is considerable recreational fishing, both by local people and through fishing guides, on Kitimat River, its estuary and in Kitimat Arm. There is also likely to be a high amount of non-consumptive recreational activity in the area, including wildlife viewing, hiking and camping. The Kitimat River estuary, for example, is well known for waterbird viewing.

While no fish were captured at this location during the habitat survey, salmonoid fry and coho salmon were observed downstream. Previously recorded fish species in the area include chinook, coho and chum salmon, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, and steelhead trout.

However, the next paragraph appears to show that a full bore rupture on the Kitimat River would have widespread consequences because it would cover a vast area of First Nations traditional territory, saying

Aboriginal groups with traditional territories within the vicinity of the Kitimat River hypothetical spill scenario site include the Haisla Nation, Kitselas First Nation, Kitsumkalum First Nation, Lax-Kw’alaams First Nation and Metlakatla First Nation.

It also acknowledges:

Oral testimony provided by Gitga’at First Nation and Gitxaala Nation was also reviewed in relation to this hypothetical spill scenario, although the traditional territories of these nations are well-removed from the hypothetical spill site.

The report then goes on to list “the continued importance of traditional resources” for the aboriginal people of northwestern BC.

especially marine resources. People hunt, fish, trap and gather foods and plants throughout the area and traditional foods are central to feasting and ceremonial systems. Food is often distributed to Elders or others in the community. Written evidence and oral testimony reported that Coho, sockeye, pink, and spring salmon remain staples for community members. Halibut, eulachon, herring and herring roe,
various species of cod, shellfish, seaweed, and other marine life are also regularly harvested and consumed, as are terrestrial resources, including moose, deer, beaver, muskrat and marten. Eulachon remains an important trade item. Written evidence provides some information on seasonality of use and modes of preparation. Seaweed is dried, packed and bundled and preserved for later use. Each species of
salmon has its own season and salmon and other fish are prepared by drying, smoking, freezing or canning. Salmon are highly valued and often distributed throughout the community…

Some areas used traditionally are not depicted geographically. Upper Kitimat River from the Wedeene River to the headwaters has long been used for trapping, hunting, fishing and gathering of various foods. Fishing, hunting and gathering activities take place along the lower Kitimat River and its tributaries. Marine resources are collected in Kitimat Arm, Douglas Channel, and Gardner Canal. Old village and
harvesting sites are located along the rivers and ocean channels in this vicinity.

Intertidal areas are important and highly sensitive harvesting sites that support a diversity of species. Many intertidal sites are already over harvested and are therefore vulnerable. Conservation of abalone has been undertaken to help the species recover. Some concern was expressed in oral testimony regarding the
potential for archaeological sites and the lack of site inventory in the area. Oral testimony made reference to the Queen of the North sinking and the potential for a similar accident to result in human health and environmental effects.

A spill at Hunter Creek

The model says that all three types of floating oil in Kitimat River under high-flow conditions would reach approximately 40 kilometres downstream from Hunter Creek while low-flow conditions showed variation.

Under what the study calls low flow conditions, most condensate would evaporate. The bitumen would cause “heavy shore-oiling” for the first 10 kilometres, with some oiling up to 40 kilometres downstream.

The most sedimentation would occur for synthetic oil, and the least for condensate. Synthetic oil under both flow conditions would have the largest amounts deposited to the sediments. This is because of the low viscosity of synthetic oil, which allows it to be readily entrained into the water where it may combine with suspended sediments and subsequently settle. Synthetic oil under high-flow conditions would result in the most entrained oil and so the most extensive deposition to the sediment. Diluted bitumen, for both flow conditions, would result in the most deposited on shorelines, with the remainder (except that which evaporated or degraded) depositing to the sediments.
The condensate also would also have significant entrainment, but higher winds prevailing in under low flow conditions would enhance evaporation and rapidly lower concentrations in the water as compared to high-flow conditions. In all scenarios, a large amount of entrained oil and high concentrations of dissolved aromatics would move down the entire stretch of Kitimat River and into Kitimat River estuary.

Long term scenario

The modelling appears to be extremely optimistic when it reaches four to six weeks after the pipeline breach, especially in light of the continued cleanup efforts in Michigan, estimating that the “fast-flowing” nature of the Kitimat River would disipate all the different forms of hydrocarbon in the study saying

 a fast-flowing coastal river like Kitimat River, with gravel or cobble bottom would be affected by a large volume of crude oil released in a short period of time.

Oiling of shoreline soils is heavy in the reaches between the release point and 10 km downstream, becoming lighter to negligible beyond 10 km. Deposition of hydrocarbons to river sediment is greatest for the synthetic oil and diluted bitumen (high flow) scenarios extending up to 40 kilometres downriver, with predicted hydrocarbon concentrations in sediment approaching 1,000 mg/kg dry weight. Deposition of hydrocarbons to river sediment is considerably lighter for the diluted bitumen (low flow) and condensate scenarios. In these scenarios, oiling of river sediment is negligible….

It says that within four weeks of the end of the acute phase of the spill scenarios, concentrations in river sediments and river water would decline becoming quite low at the end of two years.

As for the affects on plants and invertebrates:

Oiling of shorelines would be extensive, particularly at assessment locations within 10 kilometres of the pipeline break location, under both the high and low flow scenarios, for synthetic oil and condensate. High loadings occur as far as 25 kilometres downstream, again asusming that damage would begin to disipate after four weeks declining over the next one to two years. Predicted effects are generally less severe for the diluted bitumen spill scenarios, due to lower expected loading of oil onto shorelines. Low to negligible shoreline oiling would occur for Kitimat River under most of the scenarios at the 40 kilometres assessment location and points downstream. Based on this assessment, very little oiling of shorelines would extend to the estuary and the environmental effects would be minimal.

The study goes on to say that the “model suggests that there would be no significant risk to fish health based upon chronic exposure to petroleum hydrocarbons  for the oil spill scenarios in Kitimat River or the potentially affected areas within the estuary, either at four weeks or one to two years following the hypothetical spill events. Risk to developing fish eggs in Kitimat River and estuary at four weeks and one to two years again indicate no significant risk to developing fish eggs in spawning gravels.”

It also claims that “chronic risks” to wildlife would be minimal, with some elevated risk for “muskrat, belted kingfisher, mallard duck, spotted sandpiper and tree swallow,” if they were exposed to synthetic oil. The muskrat, mallard duck and spotted sandpiper
could be vulnerable to bitumen and diluted bitumen.

It then claims that “no significant effects of chronic exposure (to all hydrocarbons) would occur for grizzly bear, mink, moose, river otter, bald eagle, Canada goose, herring gull or great blue heron for the Kitimat River hydrocarbon spill scenarios.”

Again, it appears from the sutdy that the spotted sandpiper would be most vulnerable to “bulk weathered crude oil exposure” includingcondensate, diluted bitumen and synthetic oil.

For the Kitimat section it concludes:

In the unlikely event of an oil spill, recovery and mitigation as well as the physical
disturbance of habitat along the watercourse would be likely to substantially reduce the exposure of wildlife receptors to hydrocarbons as compared to the scenarios evaluated here.

Link to Volume One of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Report Ecological and Human Health Assessment for Pipeline Spills

US Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Admin cites Enbridge for violations in Kalamazoo spill, wants $3.7 million fine

Updated with Enbridge statement

The United States Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration today cited Enbridge for a series of violations in connection with the pipeline rupture and bitumen spill at Mashall, Michigan,  in 2010 and is proposing the company be fined a record $3.7 million.

A letter issued today, July 2, 2012, from the PMHSA  to Richard Adams, Vice President, U.S. Operations, Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership, lists a series of alleged failures by Enbridge.

The letter says the investigation began on July 26, 2010, the day after the Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership’s 30-inch diameter Line 6B pipeline ruptured near Marshall, Michigan on July 25, spilling 20,000 barrels of crude and contaminating 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River.

That investigation, the letter says, turned up numerous violations of US regulations including, safety rules, faulty risk analysis, failure to follow proper operation and management procedures and problems with reporting and operator qualification requirements.

The PHMSA alleges that Enbridge violated 24 regulations for pipeline safety and procedures, with civil penalties ranging from $41,200 to $1,000,000 for a total of $3.7 million.

None of the allegations have been proven and Enbridge is free to contest the filings and allegations and ask for a hearing.

In a news release, Enbridge responded:

Enbridge appreciates the hard work and due diligence that PHMSA has put into this investigation,” said Stephen J. Wuori, President, Liquids Pipelines, Enbridge Inc. “Safety has always been core to our operations. Enbridge completed a detailed internal investigation of this incident in the fall of 2010 and has made numerous enhancements to the processes and procedures in our control center since the Line 6B accident, including the training provided to pipeline operators, and has made significant changes in this critical component of our operations. Incident prevention, detection and response have also been enhanced. We will carefully examine the NOPV to determine whether any further adjustments are appropriate.

The letter says the investigation began on July 26, 2010, the day after the Enbridge Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership’s 30-inch diameter Line 6B pipeline ruptured near Marshall, Michigan on July 25, spilling 20,000 barrels of crude and contaminating 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River.

That investigation, the letter says, turned up numerous violations of US regulations including, safety rules, faulty risk analysis, failure to follow proper operation and management procedures and problems with reporting and operator qualification requirements.

The letter also outlines what happened during the spill, as seen through the eyes of PHMSA investigators.

According to the letter, the Enbridge pipeline failed despite a series of In-Line Inspections that the company had performed on the pipeline. Those inspections, the PHMSA investigators say found “multiple corrosion and crack-like anomalies on the pipe joint that failed on July
25, 2010.” It is alleged that Enbridge did not conduct any field examination of the reported anomalies before the accident.

According to the PHMSA, there was actually a crack detection being performed on Line 6B on the day of the failure and the testing equipment was left in the pipeline until the after the line was restarted on September 27, 2010.

The reports says the Michigan pipeline ruptured at 17:58 EDT on July 25, 2010, approximately 0.6 miles downstream of the company’s Marshall pumping station. At the time, Enbridge’s Edmonton Control Center  (CCO) was in the process of starting a scheduled 10-hour shutdown of the pipeline.

The PHMSA report says:

as soon as the failure occurred, the CCO received multiple alarms and indications of abnormal operations on Line 6B, but the company did not execute its suspected-leak or emergency procedures. Instead, Enbridge allowed the pipeline to remain idle as part of the Scheduled Shutdown for approximately 10 hours, during which time a new shift came on duty at the CCO, which brought in a new set of controllers, supervisors, and support personnel.

At approximately 04:00, on July 26, 2010, Enbridge initiated the scheduled start-up of Line 6B … Within minutes, the CCO received multiple alarms and indications of abnormal operating conditions, which indicated that the pressure at the Marshall pumping station had not increased as expected and the imbalance between the volume of product injected into the pipeline and the volume of product being delivered from the pipeline exceeded established thresholds. Again, Enbridge did not execute its suspected leak or emergency procedures. Instead, Enbridge continued to pump crude oil into the line while the controller, supervisors, and support personnel evaluated the situation.

After an hour, the Edmonton control centre abandoned the attempted restart and shut down the pipeline. During the time Enbridge was trying to restart the pipeline, an additional 10,460 barrels of crude oil was injected into the pipeline.

The PHMSA report says that the Enbridge control room was monitoring the “lack of typical pressure and flow conditions for this pipeline configuration and alarms.” Control room supervisors contacted managers and the decision was made to restart the pipeline a second time, which began at 0720 on July 26.

Again the Enbridge control “received multiple alarms and indications of abnormal
operating conditions.”

Enbridge continued to pump oil for another 31 minutes sending 5,831 barrels of oil into the pipeline.

By this time supervisors and managers were discussing the possibility of a suspected leak but no one activated Enbridge’s spill procedures. The second restart was halted at 0751 at which time a new shift took over the control room.

Enbridge managers “discussed the two restart attempts, resulting in the Line 6B controller
conducting further investigation into the historical operating information on the line but
taking no action to deal with a spill.”

It was three hours and fifteen minutes after the shift change, at 11:18 on July 26, roughly 17 hours after the failure occurred, that the Enbridge control room received an emergency call from an employee of a local gas company, Consumers Energy, reporting oil in a creek near Marshall, Michigan.

It was at that point that Enbridge closed remotely operated valves on each side of the reported leak, isolating three miles of pipeline on either side of the rupture. It was then that Enbridge activated its emergency procedure and field personnel were sent to the scene. The field personnel confirmed the spill to the Edmonton control room at 11:43.

On July 28, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued “a Corrective Action Order” to Enbridge requiring the company to take action to protect the public, property, and the environment. “Amongst other things, the Corrective Action Order required a pressure reduction, verification of pipeline integrity, integration of information, and provisions for ensuring ongoing safe operation considering all risk factors.”

The letter then cites Enbridge for the following alleged violations:

Pipeline integrity management in high consequence areas

The letter says that after an integrity assessment of Line 6B, Enbridge failed to obtain, within 180 days, sufficient information about anomalous conditions presenting a potential threat to the integrity of Line 6B. Enbridge conducted a high-resolution integrity assessment of Line 6B on October 13, 2007 and received the “vendor report” on June 4, 2008. The citation says “The 180 day deadline was April 10, 2008. Enbridge did not demonstrate that the 180 day period was impracticable.”

The report says Enbridge implemented pressure restrictions on the pipeline on July 17, 2009, approximately 462 days after the deadline to have sufficient information to identify anomalous conditions. A year later, according to the PHMSA, Enbridge submitted a “Long Term Pressure Reduction Notification” to PHMSA on July 15, 2010. The date of discovery was reported by Enbridge as July 17, 2009 not June 2008.

US regulations require pipeline companies to fix “corrosion anomalies” in pipelines with 180 days. The citation says that starting back as far as 2004, Enbridge “did not schedule remediation of
corrosion anomalies involving the longitudinal weld seam of pipe joint #217720, that is the joint that eventually ruptured causing the spill. The report says Enbridge also did not remediate crack-like anomalies on the same pipe joint… that could impair the integrity of the pipeline” and “Enbridge could not demonstrate that the company attempted or scheduled any remediation of the corrosion or crack anomalies that were identified by the assessments” nor did Enbridge schedule that joint for excavation prior to the rupture.

Risk analysis

The PHMSA alleges that Enbridge failed to consider all relevant risk factors associated with the determination of the amount of product that could be released from a rupture on the pipeline. Enbridge’s risk analysis process also assumed a pipeline rupture of this magnitude would be identified by its leak detection instrumentation within five minutes, and that it would take an additional three minutes to close remotely operated valves on either side of the rupture.

Before the spill, Enbridge had estimated the worst case scenario at the that location would be a release 1,670 barrels initially with another 1938 barrels released during “drain down” for a total of3,608 barrels

The actual failure scenario demonstrates the rupture was not recognized by Enbridge, and the isolation valves were not closed, until approximately 17 hours after it occurred. An additional 16,431 barrels of product was injected into the ruptured pipeline, causing the total spill volume to greatly exceed Enbridge’s worst case discharge scenario for this location.


The PHMSA letter alleges that “Enbridge did not properly consider the results of corrosion and cracking assessments nor did Enbridge integrate the information from these assessments to
properly assure overall pipeline integrity.”

While the investigation revealed that while “Enbridge has a long history of performing
integrity assessments” those assessment results “were evaluated independently and not integrated in a fashion that assures pipeline integrity.”

General Requirements

The PHMSA says US regulations require that whenever an operator discovers any condition that could adversely affect the safe operation of its pipeline system, “it shall correct it within a
reasonable time,” adding that “if the condition is of such a nature that it presents
an immediate hazard to persons or property, the operator may not operate the affected part of the system until it has corrected the unsafe condition.”

The letter says” “Enbridge failed to correct a condition that could affect the safe operation of a
pipeline within a reasonable time following discovery. Enbridge discovered the
condition as a result of …. instrumentation alarms and events that alerted
within seconds and minutes of the rupture…”

Since the alarms would have indicated conditions that could adversely affect the safe operation of the pipeline,” the PHMSA says: “The expected initial corrective action is to notify appropriate company and emergency response personnel to investigate and mitigate the effects of any unsafe conditions. This was not done until approximately 17 hours after discovery of the conditions.”

The letter says Enbridge did not follow established written procedures for responding to,
investigating, and correcting the cause of pressure outside of normal operating
limits during the shutdown and Enbridge did not notify responsible personnel in accordance with
the procedure. It says that Enbridge has not developed a specific written procedure for responding to an Invalid Pressure Alarm, but has instead developed a written procedure for required actions based on alarm severity.

For an S6-Severe Alarm, the procedures require the controller to: (1) Notify the Shift Lead; (2) Advise on site/on-call personnel; (3) Create a F ACMAN (Enbridge term for Facility Management record-keeping system used to documents abnormal operating conditions).

The PHMSA says “Enbridge failed to take any of these required actions.”

It goes on to allege that Enbridge did not follow established written procedures for responding to,
investigating, and correcting the cause of pressure in the pipeline that were outside of normal operating limits and goes on to say that Enbridge has not developed a specific written procedure for responding to a Low Suction Pressure Alarm.

As in the previous case, Enbridge’s procedures were based on “alarm severity.”

For an S4-Warning Alarm, the procedures require (1) Discretionary controller response to alarm dependent on operating conditions, (2) Notify the Shift Lead if unsure of response, (3) If multiple S4 alarms are active for a related issue, the response and severity may be raised, ( 4) FACMAN creation may be required, (5) Advise on-site/on-call personnel if required.

Again the PHMSA alleges: “ Enbridge did not take any of the above actions, or any
other actions, in response to this alarm. The fact the Marshall suction pressure
abruptly dropped to 0 psig, which was unexpected and abnormal, dictates followup
investigative actions in accordance with the procedure, in order to determine
the reason/source of the alarm.”

The report says that Enbridge did not follow established written procedures for responding to, investigating, and correcting the cause of an unintended shutdown at the Marshall Unit and Enbridge also did not notify responsible personnel in accordance with the procedure.


The PHMSA says Enbridge did not take necessary action to minimize the volume of hazardous
liquid released in the event of a failure or notify police during an emergency, even though that was required by Enbridge’s own emergency notification procedures, saying that the shift lead in the Edmonton control room should have initiated the procedures at 18:03, on July 25, when an alarm went off.

Enbridge policy on leak “triggers” that is “unexplained abnormal operating conditions or events that indicate a leak” requires that a number of procedure be started once a leak trigger is detected. The PHMA says neither the suspected leak or confirmed leaks procedures were executed by the Edmonton control room nor were managers, field personnel and local police notified.

Public Awareness

The PHMSA letter says that Enbridge did not evaluate the effectiveness of its public awareness program in accordance with the written procedures. The company’s plan calls on the public awareness manager to “informally assess the effectiveness of public awareness efforts” each year, but the PHMSA says “Enbridge could not demonstrate this was being performed.”

The investigation identified a number of instances where actions taken by members of the PAP target audience were not in accordance with the program message (e.g. not associating the odour with that of a possible crude oil release, not contacting Enbridge’s Emergency Number in response to the odour complaints, and entry into the spill area by untrained individuals).

The release resulted in a number of local residents being displaced, contamination of approximately 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River, and contamination of affected fish and wildlife.

Accident reporting

The PHMSA also alleges that Enbridge failed to properly report the incident to the proper authorities, in this case the US Department of Transportation. It says Enbridge failed to accurately report the time of failure and other significant facts relevant to the extent of damages associated with a pipeline rupture which occurred at 17:58, on July 25, 2010. According to the PHMSA, Enbridge incorrectly reported the time the accident was discovered as 09:45 July 26 and also reported the material had not reached the Kalamazoo River yet, and that the release was secured.

According to the letter, investigative interviews show that the Edmonton control room personnel were aware that there were abnormal conditions on the pipeline, that “the rupture had likely occurred when the pipeline was shutdown, the night before” that “the release was not secured, as oil was moving down the Kalamazoo River. The impacts to people, property, and the environment were immediately obvious when emergency response actions were initiated.” The letter says that Enbridge did not file follow up reports to augment the initial report to Department of Transportation nor did it “currently available accident information” to the DOT within 30 days.

A report filed by Enbridge on August 25, 2010, again misreported the time of the spill, now calling it “11:41 on July 26, 2010, when it had been clear within hours of discovery that the failure date and time was approximately 17:58 on July 25, 2010.” It goes on to say that Enbridge report “also did not indicate the number of general public evacuated, even though daily EPA Pollution Reports indicated the number of residences that were evacuated, and Enbridge paid for alternative lodging for these evacuees as necessary.” It also alleges that some of the technical details in that August report on pipeline pressure were inaccurate and goes on to say that some subsequent reports filed by Enbridge were inaccurate although “the correct information has been known by the operator for some time.”

One example was that a witness told investigators on December 5, 2011 indicated that Enbridge determined the total costs of damages associated with the Line 6B rupture were currently $720
million but the value reported in a report filed on February 22, 2011 report was $550 million. The PHMSA says: “It is unknown at what point the $720 million value was determined by Enbridge, but the reported value was not updated until March 6, 2012, approximately 3 months after the interview.”

Employee qualifications

The PHMSA report alleges that Enbridge allowed an “unqualified individual to perform covered tasks (operating a pipeline) without direct observation by a qualified individual.” It says a previously qualified controller, who had been off duty for an extended period of time, was operating the pipeline console, and a qualified controller was assigned to oversee the operations.

According to the investigation “the qualified pipeline controller, even though seated adjacent to the un-qualified pipeline controller, was performing other tasks, and not directing and observing line operations, as required by the written procedures.” The report says that after multiple alarms went off “the unqualified pipeline controller did not respond to the alarms in full accordance with the operator’s written procedures, and the qualified pipeline controller’s oversight of the operations was insufficient to ensure that the required actions were taken.

In its news release, Enbridge added:

Enbridge has worked closely and cooperatively with all federal and state agencies, including PHMSA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) throughout the investigation of the Line 6B accident, and is now reviewing the NOPV in detail. Enbridge will not comment specifically on the contents of the NOPV until it completes that analysis.

On June 18, 2012, Lorraine Little, Enbridge senior manager of US public affairs, liquids operations and projects,  appeared before District of Kitimat Council. At that time, Little outlined how the company was working on clean up operations. She also said Enbridge had improved its operations and emergency response since the Michigan incident but would not go into detail, due to ongoing investigations and litigation in the United States.


PHMSA notice of possible violation to Enbridge Energy




Haisla outline conditions, concerns for Northern Gateway project

Haisla NationIn its extensive document filed with the Northern Gateway Joint Review panel, the Haisla Nation emphasize their opposition to the project.

However, the Haisla are anticipating that the project will be approved and  therefore submitted a lengthy series of conditions for that project, should it be imposed on the northwest by the federal government.

Nevertheless, if the project were to be approved AFTER the Crown meaningfully consulted and accommodated the Haisla Nation with respect to the impacts of the proposed project on its aboriginal title and rights, and if that consultation were meaningful yet did not result in changes to the proposed project, the following conditions would, at a minimum, have to be attached to the project.


1. Conditions Precedent: The following conditions precedent should be met prior to any field investigations, pre-construction activities or construction activities as well as during and subsequent to such investigations or activities. These conditions are necessary to ensure that potential effects of the project can be avoided or mitigated to reduce the likelihood of habitat damage or destruction:

Comprehensive seasonal water quality monitoring throughout the Kitimat River watershed, Kitimat Arm and Douglas Channel that account for seasonal variations in flow, tidal cycles, snowmelt, rainfall, etc.

Parameters for measurement would be have to be agreed upon by the
Haisla Nation prior to certification of the project;

Comprehensive seasonal fisheries surveys of fish habitat utilization  throughout the Kitimat River watershed, Kitimat Arm and Douglas Channel that account for where species and life stages are at different times of the year and accurately define sensitive habitats;

Comprehensive seasonal wildlife and bird surveys of habitat utilization throughout the Kitimat River watershed, Kitimat Arm and Douglas Channel that account for where species and life stages are at different times of the year and accurately define sensitive habitats;

Comprehensive seasonal vegetation surveys of habitat utilization throughout the Kitimat River watershed, Kitimat Arm and Douglas Channel that accounts for the distribution of species and life stages at different times of the year and accurately define sensitive habitats;

Development of comprehensive spill response capability based on a realistic assessment of spill containment, spill response and spill capacity requirements throughout the Kitimat River Valley, Kitmat Arm and Douglas Channel. The Haisla Nation’s past experience has shown that relying onpromises is not good enough. This spill response capability must be demonstrated prior to project approval;

Verification that the proposed project would result in real benefits, economic or otherwise, that would flow to the Haisla Nation, to other First Nations, and to British Columbia.

Whenever any field investigations or activities are proposed, the proposal or permit application would have to include the following environmental protections:

Soil and erosion control plans;

Surface water management and treatment plans;

Groundwater monitoring plans;

Control and storage plans for fuels, lubricants and other potential contaminants;

Equipment deployment, access and use plans;

Habitat reclamation of disturbed or cleared areas.

Prior to any pre-construction or construction activities the following detailed studies would have to be undertaken and provided to the Haisla Nation for review and approval, to ensure that the best design and construction approaches are being used, so that potential effects of the project can be avoided or mitigated to reduce the likelihood of habitat damage or destruction:

Detailed analysis of terrain stability and slide potential throughout the pipeline corridor and at the storage tank and terminal site;

Detailed engineering design to mitigate seismic risk and local weather extremes;

.Development of pipeline integrity specifications and procedures including
best practices for leak detection;

Development of storage tank integrity specifications and maintenance and monitoring procedures;

Assessment of spill containment, spill response and spill capacity requirements throughout the Kitimat River watershed, Kitimat Arm and Douglas Channel;

.Development of detailed tanker acceptance program specifications and

Development of detailed tanker and tug traffic management specifications and procedures;

Development of detailed port management specifications and procedures including operating limits for tanker operation, movement and docking.

2. Ongoing Consultation: A commitment to ongoing consultation with and accommodation of the Haisla Nation on all of the activities set out above.

3. Ongoing process for variance, waiver or discharge of conditions: A commitment to ongoing meaningful involvement of the Haisla Nation by the National Energy Board prior to any decision on any changes to or sign off on conditions and commitments to any certificate that is issued.

4. Third Party Oversight of Construction: A requirement that NorthernGateway fund a third party oversight committee, which should include a Haisla Nation representative, to monitor certificate compliance during construction of the marine terminal and the pipeline. This committee would have the ability to monitor and inspect construction and should be provided with copies of allcompliance documents submitted by Northern Gateway to the National Energy Board.

5. Operational Conditions: A number of operational conditions should beincorporated into the certificate, including but not limited to:

The requirement to monitor terrain along the pipeline so that breaches based on earth movements can be anticipated and prevented;

The requirement to implement automatic pipeline shutdown whenever a leak detection alarm occurs;

Conditions on the disposal of any contamination that must be removed as a result of an accident or malfunction resulting in a spill that will minimize additional habitat destruction and maximize the potential for regeneration of habitat and resources damaged by the spill;

Parameters for terminal and tanker operations (including standards for tankers allowed to transport cargo; tanker inspection requirements and schedules; escort tug specifications, standards, maintenance and inspection; pilotage protocols and procedures; environmental conditions and operating limits; etc.) as well as other parameters set out in and reliedon for the TERMPOL review to become conditions of any certificate issued by the National Energy Board, with a provision that the Haisla Nation’s approval of any changes to these conditions is required.

Answering the questions from Enbridge Northern Gateway, the Haisla also outline a long series of concerns.

1. Physical and Jurisdictional Impacts

1.1 Construction

The Haisla Nation is concerned about the direct physical and jurisdictional impacts that the construction of the proposed project will have. These concerns are set out for each of the marine terminal, the pipeline, and tanker traffic, below:

Marine Terminal:

a. The proposed marine terminal will require the alienation of 220-275
hectares (554-680 acres) of land from Haisla Nation Territory, land
to which the Haisla Nation claims aboriginal title.

b. The terminal will require the additional alienation of land for
ancillary infrastructure and development, including:

i. road upgrades,

ii. perimeter access roads and roads within the terminal area,

iii. a potential public bypass road,

iv. an impoundment reservoir,

v. a disposal site for excess cut material outside the terminal

vi. a new 10km long transmission powerline, and

vii. a 100-m waterlot with a 150-m “safety zone”.

c. The terminal proposes to use Haisla Nation aboriginal title land,
including foreshore and waters, in a way that is inconsistent with
Haisla Nation stewardship of its lands, waters and resources and
with the Haisla Nation’s own aspirations for the use of this land.
Since aboriginal title is a constitutionally protected right to use the
aboriginal title land for the purposes the Haisla Nation sees fit, this
adverse use would fundamentally infringe the aboriginal title of the
Haisla Nation.

d. The terminal will require the destruction and removal of
documented culturally modified trees, some with modifications
dating back to 1754. These culturally modified trees are living
monuments to the history of the Haisla people.

e. The terminal will expose two Haisla Nation cultural heritage sites to
increased risk of vandalism and chemical weathering.

f. The terminal will result in the direct loss of 4.85 hectares (11.98
acres) of freshwater fish habitat (harmful alteration, disruption or
destruction (HADD) under the Fisheries Act).

g. The terminal will require dredging, underwater blasting, and
placement of piles and berthing foundations, resulting in an as yet
un-quantified loss of intertidal and subtidal marine habitat.


a. The proposed pipeline construction right-of-way will require the
alienation of 9,200 hectares (22,734 acres) of Haisla Nation
Territory – land to which the Haisla Nation claims aboriginal title –
and will put this land to a use that is inconsistent with Haisla Nation
stewardship of its lands, waters and resources and with the Haisla
Nation’s own aspirations for the use of this land.

b. The pipeline will require 127 watercourse crossings in Haisla Nation
Territory. Seven of these are categorized as high risk, 5 as
medium high risk, and 7 are medium or medium low risk for harmful
alternation, disruption or destruction (HADD) of fish habitat. This
risk is just from pipeline construction and does not address the
issue of spills.

c. The pipeline is estimated to result in temporary or permanent
destruction of freshwater fish habitat of 3.1 hectares (7.68 acres) in
Haisla Nation Territory.

d. The pipeline will require the clearing of land and vegetation and the
destruction of wetlands. The extent of this is yet to be quantified.

Tanker Traffic:

a. Although Northern Gateway has not made any submission on this
point, it is clear that having adequate spill response capability at
Kitimat will require additional infrastructure upgrades in and around
Kitimat, as well as potential spill response equipment cache sites.
None of this has been considered or addressed in Northern
Gateway’s application material – as such the material is

b. The construction for this additional infrastructure could result
impacts to ecosystems, plants, wildlife and fish, and in additional
HADD or fish mortality from accidents.

All of the land alienations required for the proposed project would profoundly
infringe Haisla Nation aboriginal title which is, in effect, a constitutionally
protected ownership right. The proposed project would use Haisla Nation
aboriginal title land in a way that is inconsistent with Haisla Nation stewardship of
its lands, waters and resources and with the Haisla Nation’s own aspirations for
the use of this land. Since aboriginal title is a constitutionally protected right to
use the aboriginal title land for the purposes the Haisla Nation sees fit, this
adverse use would fundamentally infringe the aboriginal title of the Haisla Nation.

The Haisla Nation is also concerned about the socio-economic and health
impacts of the proposed project. Northern Gateway has yet to file its Human
Health and Ecological Risk Assessment. Further, the socio-economic impact
analysis submitted as part of the application provides only a limited assessment
of the potential impacts of the project on the Haisla Nation at a socio-economic

Haisla Nation society and economy must be understood within the cultural
context of a people who have lived off the lands, waters and resources of their
Territory since long before European arrival. To limit a socio-economic impact
assessment to direct impacts and to ignore consequential impacts flowing from
those impacts fails to capture the potential impacts of the proposed project on the
Haisla Nation at a socio-economic level.

1.2 Operation

The proposed marine terminal, pipeline corridor and shipping lanes will be
located in highly sensitive habitats for fish, wildlife and plants. Any accident of
malfunction at the wrong time in the wrong place can be devastating ecologically.
The Haisla Nation has identified the following concerns relating to physical
impacts from the operation of the proposed project:

Marine Terminal:

a. Intertidal and subtidal marine habitat impacts as a result of marine
b. The likelihood of spills from the marine terminal as a result of operational
mistakes or geohazards.

c. The effects and consequences of a spill from the marine terminal. This
includes impacts on the terrestrial and intertidal and subtidal marine
environment and fish, marine mammals, birds, and other wildlife, as well
as impacts on Haisla Nation culture and cultural heritage that could result
from such impacts.

d. Response to a spill from the marine terminal, including concerns about
spill response knowledge, planning and capability, as well as impacts
flowing from response measures themselves.


a. The likelihood of spills from the pipeline as a result of pipeline failure,
resulting from inherent pipeline integrity issues or external risks to pipeline
integrity, such as geohazards.

b. The effects and consequences of a spill from the pipelines. This includes
impacts on the terrestrial environment and freshwater environment, and
on plants, fish, birds, and other wildlife, as well as impacts on Haisla
Nation culture and cultural heritage that could result from such impacts.

c. Response to a spill from the pipelines, including concerns about spill
response knowledge, planning and capability, as well as impacts flowing
from response measures themselves.

Tanker Traffic:

a. Increased vessel traffic in waters used by Haisla Nation members for
commercial fishing and for traditional fishing, hunting and food gathering.

b. The likelihood of spills, including condensate, diluted bitumen, synthetic
crude, and bunker C fuel and other service fuels, from the tankers at sea
and at the marine terminal.

c. The effects and consequences of a spill. This includes impacts on the
marine environment and fish, marine mammals, birds, and other wildlife,
as well as impacts on Haisla Nation culture and cultural heritage that could
result from such impacts.

d. Response to a spill, including concerns about spill response knowledge,
planning and capability, as well as impacts flowing from response
measures themselves.

e. Potential releases of bilge water, with concerns about oily product and
foreign organisms.
These issues are important. They go to the very heart of Haisla Nation culture.
They go to the Haisla Nation relationship with the lands, waters, and resources of
its Territory. A major spill from the pipeline at the marine terminal or from a
tanker threatens to sever us from or damage our lifestyle built on harvesting and
gathering seafood and resources throughout our Territory.

Northern Gateway proposes a pipeline across numerous tributaries to the Kitimat
River. A spill into these watercourses is likely to eventually occur. The evidence
before the Panel shows that pipeline leaks or spills occur with depressing

One of Enbridge’s own experiences, when it dumped 3,785,400 liters of diluted
bitumen into the Kalamazoo River, shows that the concern of a spill is real and
not hypothetical. A thorough understanding of this incident is critical to the
current environmental assessment since diluted bitumen is what Northern
Gateway proposes to transport. However, nothing was provided in the application
materials to address the scope of impact, the level of effort required for cleanup
and the prolonged effort required to restore the river. An analysis of this incident
would provide a basis for determining what should be in place to maintain
pipeline integrity as well as what should be in place locally to respond to any spill.

The Kalamazoo spill was aggravated by an inability to detect the spill, by an
inability to respond quickly and effectively, and by an inability to predict the fate
of the diluted bitumen in the environment. As a result, the Kalamazoo River has
suffered significant environmental damage. The long-term cumulative
environmental damage from this spill is yet to be determined.

Further, the Haisla Nation is also concerned about health impacts of the
proposed project and awaits the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment
which Northern Gateway has promised to provide.

1.3 Decommissioning

Northern Gateway has not provided information on decommissioning that is detailed enough to allow the Haisla Nation to set out all its concerns about the potential impacts from decommissioning at this point in time. This is not good enough. The Haisla Nation needs to know how Northern Gateway proposes to undertake decommissioning, what the impacts will be, and that there will be financial security in place to ensure this is done properly.

2. Lack of Consultation


Broadly, the Haisla Nation has concerns about all three physical aspects of the
proposed project – the pipeline, the marine terminal and tanker traffic – during all
three phases of the project – construction, operation and decommissioning.
These concerns have not been captured or addressed by Northern Gateway’s
proposed mitigation. The Haisla Nation acknowledges that a number of these
concerns can only be addressed through meaningful consultation with the
Crown. The Haisla Nation has therefore repeatedly asked federal decision-
makers to commit to the joint development of a meaningful consultation process
with the Haisla Nation. The federal Crown decision-makers have made it very
clear that they have no intention of meeting with the Haisla Nation until the Joint
Review Panel’s review of the proposed project is complete.

The federal Crown has also stated that it is relying on consultation by NorthernGateway to the extent possible. The federal Crown has failed to provide anyclarity, however, about what procedural aspects of consultation it has delegated to Northern Gateway. Northern Gateway has not consulted with the Haisla Nation and has not advised the Haisla Nation that Canada has delegated any aspects of the consultation process.

The Haisla Nation asserts aboriginal title to its Territory. Since the essence of

aboriginal title is the right of the aboriginal title holder to use land according to its
own discretion, Haisla Nation aboriginal title entails a constitutionally protected
ability of the Haisla Nation to make decisions concerning land and resource use
within Haisla Nation Territory. Any government decision concerning lands,
waters, and resource use within Haisla Nation Territory that conflicts with a
Haisla lands, waters or resources use decision is only valid to the extent that the
government can justify this infringement of Haisla Nation aboriginal title.

The Supreme Court of Canada has established that infringements of aboriginal
title can only be justified if there has been, in the case of relatively minor
infringements, consultation with the First Nation. Most infringements will require
something much deeper than consultation if the infringement is to be justified.
The Supreme Court has noted that in certain circumstances the consent of the
aboriginal nation may be required. Further, compensation will ordinarily be
required if an infringement of aboriginal title is to be justified [Delgamuukw].

The Haisla Nation has a chosen use for the proposed terminal site. This land
was selected in the Haisla Nation’s treaty land offer submitted to British Columbia
and Canada in 2005, as part of the BC Treaty Negotiation process, as lands
earmarked for Haisla Nation economic development.

The Haisla Nation has had discussions with the provincial Crown seeking to
acquire these lands for economic development purposes for a liquefied natural
gas project. The Haisla Nation has had discussions with potential partners about
locating a liquefied natural gas facility on the site that Northern Gateway
proposes to acquire for the marine terminal. The Haisla Nation sees these lands
as appropriate for a liquefied natural gas project as such a project is not nearly
as detrimental to the environment as a diluted bitumen export project. This use,
therefore, is far more compatible with Haisla Nation stewardship of its lands,
waters and resources.

By proposing to use Haisla Nation aboriginal title land in a manner that is
inconsistent with Haisla Nation stewardship of its lands, waters and resources,
and that interferes with the Haisla Nation’s own proposed reasonable economic
development aspirations for the land, the proposed project would result in a
fundamental breach of the Haisla Nation’s constitutionally protected aboriginal

Similarly, Haisla Nation aboriginal rights are constitutionally protected rights to
engage in certain activities (e.g. hunting, fishing, gathering) within Haisla Nation
Territory. Government decisions that infringe Haisla Nation aboriginal rights will
be illegal unless the Crown can meet the stringent test for justifying an
Main story Haisla Nation confirms it opposes Northern Gateway, demands Ottawa veto Enbridge pipeline; First Nation also outlines “minimum conditions” if Ottawa approves the project

Haisla Nation Response to NGP Information Request  (pdf)

First Nations, environmentalists and ‘rednecks’ stand together opposing Gateway, witness tells Kitimat JRP hearings


Members of the Joint Review panel make notes at Kitamaat Village (Robin Rowland)
Members of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, left to right, Kenneth Bateman, chair Sheila Leggett and Hans Matthews make notes at the June 25, 2012 hearings at the Haisla Recreation Centre, Kitamaat Village. A map of Douglas Channel can be seen behind the panel. (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)

“This will be the first project in Canadian history to have First Nations, environmentalists and, for a lack of a better term, rednecks standing together in protest,” that sentence from Katherina Ouwehand summed up the first day of public comment testimony Monday, June 25, 2012, as the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel returned to the Haisla Recreation Centre at Kitamaat Village.

Ten minutes isn’t that long. Ten minutes is the time that the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel gives a member of the public to express their opinion on the controversial Enbridge project that would pipe oil sands bitumen from Alberta through the port of Kitimat to Asia.

Ten minutes is sufficient if you know what you’re talking about, if you’ve done your homework and rehearsed presentation so it can comes in right on time.

Ten minutes can be eternity if you’re an Enbridge official sitting silently at a nearby table as people who do know what they’re saying tear apart your public presentations, your multi-million dollar ads and the thousands of pages the company has filed with the Joint Review Panel. Or perhaps, as some at the public comment hearings pointed out, those ten minutes mean little if Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already decided the pipeline will go ahead no matter what, and thus any recommendation from the JRP has little credibility.

The first witness to appear before the public comment hearings on Monday afternoon was someone who knows all about the role of human error in accidents, Manny Aruda, an Emergency Response Team leader at the Rio Tinto Alcan smelter.

Aruda began by commenting, “To be clear, I do not belong to any environmental or radical organization, although I do recycle and occasionally I do eat granola.” His responsibilities at RTA include overseeing anything related to an emergency response, including dealing with spills and reporting the spills. Before that he worked at Methanex first in operations as a field operator and then as an ammonia control room operator. He also volunteers as a Search Manager for Kitimat Search and Rescue.

Talking about his time in the control room at Methanex, Aruda said, “I worked in the state-of-the-art chemical plant which is constantly being updated with the newest instrumentation. No matter how many safety features are in place, human error could supersede. Incorrect wires were cut causing plants to shut down; drain lines were left open during start-up causing methanol to go into the effluent system and eventually into the ocean; pigs [robots that operate inside pipes] are used to clean pipelines that were supposed to be collected at the end of a line at the wharf, and over-pressurizing of the line and mental error, leaving a valve open and the next thing you know pigs really do fly right into the ocean.

“Enbridge has spoken many times about how they’ll use smart pigs. Perhaps their smart pigs will know when to put the brakes on and stop.

Humans weak link

“The bottom line is that no matter what state-of-the-art infrastructure, instrumentation, safety

Manny Aruda
Manny Aruda takes some water after testifying before the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel at Kitamaat Village, June 25, 2012. (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)

measures are in place human decisions or lack of decisions will affect the outcome. Humans are the weak link.

“There is an enormous pressure from management to keep plants and pipelines running. Control room operators are most at risk on start-ups and shutdowns, when conditions are changing rapidly. When a suspected issue arises it requires interpretation and analytical skills. These skills are relative to the amount of knowledge and experience of the individual.

“When in the control room you can’t see, hear or smell what’s going on outside, this is why the field operator is so valuable and utilized to go out in the field to verify a level, check a pump status, a pressure reading, identify leaks, et cetera.

Despite what some people may believe, it’s not black and white. There’s not a red Staples easy button flashing indicating that a spill is happening.

“When in the control room you can’t see, hear or smell what’s going on outside, this is why the field operator is so valuable and utilized to go out in the field to verify a level, check a pump status, a pressure reading, identify leaks… Despite what some people may believe, it’s not black and white. There’s not a red Staples easy button flashing indicating that a spill is happening.”
Any deviation from normal operations is subject to interpretation by the control room operator, “a human, the weak link,” Aruda said. He added: “Industry can continue to make improvements and make things more and more idiot-proof. History has shown that better idiots will come along.”

He told the JRP that the long Northern Gateway pipeline through remote mountain passes would have no field operators available to check every kilometre of the line to verify what the control room operator thinks is happening.

Like other witnesses, Aruda pointed to the Enbridge spill at Marshall, Michigan, where four million litres were spilled into a river in a populated area. “The spill went unnoticed due to human error,
the weak link.”

He testified that he has spent “hundreds of hours looking at Enbridge’s risk assessment,
management of spills, emergency response,” and then he said from the point of view of an
emergency response team leader, “reading these documents has flabbergasted me.” He said Enbridge’s risk management was “seriously deficient and woefully lacking in substance. They do not take into consideration the rugged terrain, the climatic conditions and dangers of fast flowing moving water.”

He said Talmadge Creek that feeds the Kalamazoo River, the location of the spill in Michigan, flows at much slower rate than the Kitimat River. At Kalamazoo, he said, four million litre oil spill moved 39 miles downstream contaminating everything in its path and it was contained two days later.

“It took Enbridge two days to deal with a meandering Kalamazoo River spill. Enbridge has stated in their risk assessment and management of spills they can contain a spill in the Kitimat River within two to four hours. This is irresponsible and inaccurate statement with no associated details.

It rains a lot in Kitimat

“To be fair, the Marshall spill happened at the worst possible time when the Kalamazoo River flows were at flood stage, causing oil to be deposited high on marshes and banks. This caused widespread contamination in the area. The Kitimat area also has high periods of flows and flood stages. It’s called, May, June, September, October and November. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but it rains here, a lot.

“In a worst-case scenario for the Kitimat River, Aruda said, based on events of September 2011, “heavy rain caused a dramatic increase in river levels within 24 hours. This is a normal occurrence. And the river widens by 75 yards in some locations. I have personally witnessed tree after tree, including 100 foot trees with full root balls 20-feet in diameter barrelling down this river. The Kitimat River flow at that time, 72,000 cubic feet a second, [was] some 18 times more than the Kalamazoo River. There’s not one qualified incident commander that would even consider sending out emergency responders into that raging river.”

He said that even during a moderate rise of the river, booms are not effective because of all the debris floating down the river.

Aruda said, “I invite anyone who thinks this oil spill can be cleaned up effectively to drift down the river with me to see for themselves how impossible a task that would be.” He noted that Enbridge has spent $765 million in clean-up costs, and while some parts of the Kalamazoo River have recently been opend for recreational use, other parts remain closed for clean-up.

He repeated his belief that Enbridge’s response plans are insufficient and concluded by saying, “Other pipelines and transmission lines have succumbed to the forces of nature in this area without any long-term environmental impacts. Sadly, this will not be the case if oil spills here.”

A later witness was Terry Brown, a former project engineer at Eurocan. Brown began by describing his love for sailing the Douglas Channel for the past 28 years. In one instance, Brown said, “ One extra-special night was when the ocean waters were disturbed and the phosphorescence was a glow like fireworks. We were seldom alone on the water as we often saw, heard and smelled seals, sea lions, orcas, and humpback whales, just like a huge aquarium but all to our own and so secluded.

“We not only stayed on the surface but some of our family engaged in scuba diving. What a joy to see so much life, crabs, fish, and shrimp, sea anemones, sea lions and much more. What a gorgeous dive it was as our daughter Stacy and I went down deep on the wall at Coste Rocks to see many different life forms hanging in our view. Later, we circumnavigated the rock and were amazed to see the pure white forms of a large sea anemone.”

Katherina Ouwehand   Murray Minchin  at JRP hearings
Katherina Ouwehand testifies at the Northern Gateway Joint Review hearings as Murray Minchin, the next witness listens, at the Haisla Recreation Centre, Kitamaat Village, June 25, 2012 (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)


Things failed

Like Aruda, he then turned to how things can go wrong. “No matter how hard we tried to do our best, things failed or as they often said, ‘shit happens’. Pipes, gaskets would fail; tanks would collapse; equipment would break. We even had SRBs in our stainless tanks. Many items would fail with such power that it would resemble an explosion.

“Lately, I have heard comments on how new gaskets are much better than old. Our experience was the opposite, as old gaskets contained asbestos they had a much better life span than the new synthetic ones.

“My largest project at Eurocan, a 300-tonne per day CMP pulp mill, actually had 10 — that’s it, 10 major failures within the first one to two years after start-up. During my working time, I was also involved in some of the projects to reduce the tainting of the local oohlican fish. This involves a highly cultural activity that the Haisla engaged in up until Eurocan start up in 1970.

“Over the 10 to 15 years spent looking for a solution, some $100 million was spent on related activities. If this much was spent with no success on a minor issue, if you call it that, how can anyone expect to clean up the beaches of a real nasty oil like dilbit?”

There was a third, highly technical presentation from Kelly Marsh, a millwright with the District of Kitimat (as well as Kitimat Search and Rescue volunteer) who presented his mathematical evidence, based on what he said we standard and accepted models that he said showed that Enbridge has vastly underestimated the chances of spill.

For the first time in public, some voiced in public what many in Kitimat have been saying in private, that if Stephen Harper pushes the project, there will be resistance from the residents of Northwestern British Columbia.

Katherina Ouwehand testified, “I am not a bully and I don’t lose my temper easily, but if this project is given the go-ahead by our Prime Minister, they had better be prepared for a huge fight. My thousands of like-minded friends and I will unite in force and do more than
speak up peacefully. There will be many blockades on the pathways of the pipeline and marine blockades in the channel.”

Murray Minchin, a member of Douglas Channel Watch (although everyone at the public comment hearings are testifying on their own behalf) said, “The original organizers of the Clayoquot Sound clear-cut logging blockades hoped that 500 to 600 people would turn out and help them protest. Over 10,000 showed up and almost 1,000 were arrested. Those numbers will be shattered if this project gets steamrolled through the regulatory process.”

Bill C-38

Many of the witnesses voiced their concerns about the Conservative omnibus Bill C-38 which they said would destroy many of the environmental safeguards in the Fisheries and Environmental Assessment Acts.

Margaret Ouwehand said. “I have a great fear. I am afraid of Enbridge because it represents much more than a pipeline; Enbridge is an enabler of all the things that make us ashamed to be Canadian. Do we want a Canada that endangers the whole world by contributing to global warming?

Do we want a Canada that muzzles scientists who don’t say what the oil companies want them to say? Do we feel proud when Canada puts up roadblocks to treaties with other countries so that oil companies can continue to pollute? Do we really want a Canada that prefers temporary foreign workers to be used and, in many cases, abused, just to provide oil companies with cheap labour? Wouldn’t it be more ethical to encourage immigrants to come to Canada to make permanent homes and actually contribute to the country?

“Once we were proud of Canada’s leadership in protecting the environment, both in Canada and world-wide. Now we have sold out to the highest bidders and by so doing we are jeopardizing our very sovereignty. We cannot enter into agreements to limit pollution because the big oil companies who own our resources won’t allow it.

“Once we were the world’s good guys, the peacekeepers, the ones who were caretakers of the environment and of endangered species. Now it’s all about money. Now we are at the bottom of the heap, along with other money-grubbers of the world.”

Mike Langegger, who has testified at previous National Energy Board and JRP hearings on behalf of the Kitimat Rod and Gun, testified, “Today I wish to speak to the implications of the Northern Gateway Project will have on my and many coastal families who call British Columbia home and the threat it poses to a generations of culture, lifestyle, relying on healthy and productive environment and ecosystems we currently have.

“My family, along with many resident British Columbians have a strong connection to our natural environment and is as much part of us as we are of it. By nature we are hunters and gatherers who have sustainable harvest from our natural environment over the generations providing for our families. Abundant and healthy fish and wildlife populations in environment that sustained their existence is critical and must be guaranteed.

“Unfortunately, over my lifetime I’ve witnessed commercial and industrial exploitation come and go, each diminishing our areas natural environment and its ability to support wildlife and the many associated values. It is critical that not only negative implications of the Northern Gateway Project be considered but also the cumulative effects of current, proposed, and past exploitation that has or is likely to occur in our area. Often a single negative impact can be mitigated. However, when a series of impacts are allowed to compile, the end result has proven to be devastating.

“Today the Dungeness crab and our local estuary area are deemed as contaminated and not recommended for consumption. The oohlican populations have been wiped out on most of our local area streams. The Kitimat River has been negatively impacted by resource extractions rendering it reliant on hatchery augmentation. Trees on the west side of the valley have died off suspect to pollution; wildlife populations have been impacted and the list goes on.

“We have seen industries come and exploit our area and its resources, profit substantially and leave, only to pass on a legacy of toxic sites and compromised environment. What they have not left behind is any established fund for impacted First Nation’s area residents and stakeholders to manage and reinvest back into our environment for the benefit of habitat, fish, wildlife that has been impacted.

“Ultimately, industry in general has been allowed to exploit, profit, and leave without being held accountable for our forest to correct damage. That’s the history we currently witness here.

“For those of us that call coastal British Columbia home, the existing environment, fish, wildlife, and associated values are the foundation of who we are. It is those values that foster and nurture many family bonds and are the result of cherished memories with loved ones and friends. It is those values that provide a healthy lifestyle and food source. It is those values that support numerous traditions and are the base of revered culture. It is those values that the Northern Gateway Project ultimately threatens to extinguish.”
Transcript Vol.58-Mon June 25, 2012 (pdf)

US National Transportation Safety Board releases photos, documents on Enbridge Kalamzoo oil spill

NTSB staff examine ruptured pipe
US National Transportation Safety Board staff examine a ruptured pipe from the Enbridge oil spill in August, 2010. The photo was released by the NTSB May 21, 2012. (NTSB)

The United States National Transportation Safety Board today released more than 5,000 pages relating to its investigation of the 2010 of the Marshall, Michigan, Enbridge pipeline rupture and oil spill.

The NTSB release says it is adding the documents to the “public docket” on the case.

About 11:17 a.m. EDT on July 26, 2010, Enbridge Energy Partners was notified of a leak on a 30-inch diameter crude oil pipeline (Line 6B) in Marshall, Michigan. The pipeline had ruptured 17 hours earlier and spilled about a million gallons of crude oil into the immediate area resulting in extensive environmental damage to Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

Fifty-eight photographs and 170 documents totaling more than 5000 pages are in the docket. The information being released is factual in nature and does not provide any analysis.

Additional material may be added to the docket as it becomes available. Analysis of the accident, along with conclusions and its probable cause, will be determined at a later date.

This is a document release only; no interviews will be conducted.

Documents are available at this link

More than 800,000 gallons of heavy bitumen crude spilled from the pipeine near Marshall in Calhoun County, Michigan. NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said Monday the NTSB expects to reach a conclusion on the spill sometime this summer.

On May 10, Enbridge announced it would spend $1.6 billion to upgrade and replace portions of the pipeline through Michigan and Indiana. The broken pipeline, however, would be decontaminated and “abandoned in place.”