CALGARY – Calls mounted Wednesday for Alberta’s auditor general to review pipeline safety in the province as a coalition of 54 public interest groups demanded Premier Alison Redford bring in the provincial watchdog.
The organizations were also critical of a report last week that found room for improvement when it comes to regulating pipelines near water, but took a generally favourable view of Alberta’s existing rules.
About a year ago, the Alberta government hired Group 10 Engineering to conduct a review, the findings of which were made public last Friday.
In their letter to Redford, the groups said they were “disappointed” by Group 10′s study and said it wasn’t “the report Albertans deserve.”
“Albertans deserve to know the real scope of the province’s pipeline problems and they deserve real solutions.”
Opposition parties and environmental groups have criticized the report, which cost $455,000, as being too narrow in scope. The Group 10 report did not look into the effectiveness of enforcement or look at what caused specific spills.
The Alberta New Democrats have also demanded the auditor general look into pipeline safety.
The Alberta government commissioned the report last summer after a string of oil spills, including a 475,000-litre leak from a Plains Midstream Canada pipeline in Central Alberta in June 2012.
A pipeline owned by the same company spilled 4.5 million litres of oil in northwestern Alberta in April 2011. Earlier this year, the province slapped Plains with environmental charges in relation to that event.
And the pipeline spills continued in the spring of this year. An estimated 9.5 million litres of waste water leaked in northwestern Alberta from a pipeline owned by U.S. company Apache Corp.
As well, a Penn West (TSX:PWT) pipeline spilled 5,000 litres of crude and up to 600,000 litres of wastewater. And an Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) pipeline near Fort McMurray, Alta., spilled about 200,000 litres.