Saskatchewan Seeks Tougher Pipeline Rules

Province Responds Following Husky Oil Spill

CBJ — Saskatchewan is looking to implement additional rules for pipelines following an oil spill into the North Saskatchewan River that jeopardized the drinking water of thousands of people.

Tabled legislation would ultimately result in the establishment of new inspection, investigation and compliance powers for government staff, as well as upgrading of penalties, when necessary. The measures would also provide requirements for financial assurance from operators for pipelines in high-risk locations such as water crossings. The legislation raises penalty provisions to a maximum of $500,000 per day from $50,000.

Saskatchewan’s auditor has warned that flowlines pose the same type of environmental risks as larger pipelines, but are located by the wellhead.

Husky Energy has said shifting ground was to blame for a pipeline burst in July that leaked about 225,000 litres of heavy crude oil and diluent into the North Saskatchewan River. It said the break was a sudden, one-time event. Husky claims to have spent about $90 million responding to the spill, and wrapped up shoreline clean-up efforts in October after recovering about 210,000 litres of what spilled.

The spill forced the cities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Melfort to shut off their intakes from the river and find other water sources for almost two months.