Over 54 Groups Call For Independnt Inquiry into Pipeline Safety in Alberta

For Immediate Release

July 12, 2012

Redford faces mounting pressure for independent inquiry into pipeline safety

(Edmonton) Representatives of more than 50 provincial organizations today released an open letter calling on Premier Alison Redford to establish an independent inquiry into pipeline safety in Alberta. The organizations represent a broad cross-section of Alberta’s population, including farmer, landowner, labour, health, First Nations and environmental groups.

“The recent spate of pipeline spills has been a wake-up call for all Albertans,” said Don Bester, President of the Alberta Surface Rights Group. “We know that we have a problem with pipeline safety in this province, and we can’t afford to wait another year before starting to look at solutions or diagnosing the problem.”

The text of the open letter sent to the premier and opposition leaders reads:

Dear Premier Redford,

The recent series of major pipeline spills in the province has raised serious concerns for all Albertans about the integrity and oversight of the more than 300,000 kilometres of oil and gas pipelines that crisscross the province. These spills have brought attention to an issue that affects the entire province. Albertans deserve assurances that our pipeline infrastructure is safe, and that appropriate regulations and oversight are in place.

For this reason, we are calling on you to initiate an immediate independent province-wide review of pipeline safety in Alberta, similar to the one which was recently conducted for the Auditor General of Saskatchewan’s 2012 report.

We are encouraged that you have indicated you are “not opposed” to such a review, but we believe that such a critical issue simply cannot wait, as you have indicated, for the conclusion of the ERCB investigation into the recent spills. The average ERCB investigation takes nine months to complete, with some investigations taking years, and broader concerns related to regulation and enforcement are unlikely to be addressed by these investigations. An independent review of regulations and enforcement can and must be conducted in a parallel time frame to any ERCB investigation into individual spills.

Albertans need to know that their families, communities and drinking water are safe from pipeline spills. The time for leadership on pipeline safety is now, and the first step must be an independent pipeline safety review.

In 2011, the Energy Resources and Conservation Board (ERCB) exceeded its target for high-risk non-compliance incidents in provincial oil and gas infrastructure, including 155 pipeline infractions. In the same year, the ERCB inspected only five per cent of infrastructure in the province, relying on self-monitoring and reporting to ensure the integrity of the remaining 95 per cent. These recent incidents demonstrate that Albertans are right to question the safety of our pipeline infrastructure.

”We hope that the premier will move quickly to address the growing public concern over pipeline safety with an independent, province-wide review,” said Scott Harris, Prairies Regional Organizer with the Council of Canadians. “The time for a review is now, not after Albertans wake up to news of yet another pipeline spill.”

 – 30 -

For more information contact:

Scott Harris, Council of Canadians: 780-233-2528 (cell), 780-429-4500 (wk)

Don Bester, Alberta Surface Rights Group: 403-598-2178 (cell), 403-227-2178 (hm)

Signatories to the letter are:

  1. Alberta Landowners Council
  2. Alberta Surface Rights Group
  3. Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
  4. Alberta Wilderness Association
  5. Alberta Workers’ Health Centre
  6. Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
  7. Big Valley Surface Rights
  8. Border Surface Rights
  9. Butte Action Committee
  10. Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
  11. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Northern Alberta Chapter
  12. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Southern Alberta Chapter
  13. Central Athabasca Stewardship Society
  14. ChangeAlberta
  15. Citizens for Responsible Development
  16. Citizens for Responsible Power
  17. Cleanwater Foundation
  18. Confederacy of Treaty 6
  19. Council of Canadians
  20. Davey Lake Group
  21. Dene Nation
  22. Earth Alternatives
  23. Edmonton Friends of the North Environmental Society
  24. Environmental Defence
  25. Friends of Lily Lake
  26. Glasswaters Foundation
  27. Greenpeace Canada
  28. Indigenous Environmental Network
  29. International Institute of Concern for Public Health
  30. Keepers of the Athabasca
  31. Lac Ste Anne Community Group
  32. Lochend Under Siege Group
  33. National Farmers Union
  34. Nature Alberta
  35. North Saskatchewan Riverkeepers
  36. Onoway River Valley Conservation Association
  37. Peace River Environmental Society
  38. Pembina Institute
  39. Powers Group
  40. Public Interest Alberta
  41. Regional Environmental Action Committee
  42. Seniors’ Action and Liaison Team
  43. Sierra Club Prairie Chapter
  44. South Porcupine Stewardship Association
  45. Springvale Surface Rights Association
  46. Strawberry Landowners Group
  47. Three Creeks Resident’s group
  48. United Landowners of Alberta
  49. United Nurses of Alberta
  50. Uptag Society
  51. Warburg Pembina Surface Rights Group
  52. Water Matters
  53. West Athabasca Watershed Bio Regional Society
  54. World Wildlife Fund

1 Response to “Over 54 Groups Call For Independnt Inquiry into Pipeline Safety in Alberta”

  1. 1 cmaxmin Jul 22nd, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I love reading your blog! I frequently reference your posts. I’ve been writing a lot about this issue on my blog as well: http://www.firstheretheneverywhere.org/blog.

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About maryam

maryam is an organizer, writer, and friend based in Vancouver on unceded Coast Salish Territories. She likes bikes, exploring by kayak, and capoeira. You may have seen some of her writing in Canadian Dimensions, Briarpatch Magazine, The Dominion, or this online blog. You can follow her on twitter @maryamaquarium

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