Nexen Pipeline Spill Highlights Critical Flaw In Premiers’ Energy Strategy

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that pipelines — whether old, new or somewhere in between — are likely to rupture and spill oil into their surrounding environment, exposing ecosystem and human health to unacceptable risks.

Or so it seems, if recent headlines are any indication.

Nexen Energy is the latest in a long line of pipeline operators to report a spill in Alberta. More than five million litres of emulsion — a mixture of bitumen, sand and water — have leaked at the company’s Long Lake oilsands facility outside of Fort McMurray. Covering an area of about 16,000 square metres, the spill is one of the biggest in Canadian history.

And yet, despite a growing number of pipeline incidents and mounting international and domestic pressure to act on climate change, Canada’s premiers have inexplicably signed off on a national energy strategy that includes plans to fast-track pipelines to move fossil fuels to overseas markets. They seemed to have missed the message that expanding a leaky and unreliable pipeline network does not just put people and the environment at immediate risk, but also takes us in the wrong direction on climate change.

Nexen’s ruptured pipeline is fairly new and started operations just last year, which makes this accident particularly troubling.

Even with double-layered construction and a "fail-safe" leak detection system, the spill was not detected until a contractor walking along the pipeline’s route saw the breach. Unfortunately, despite technological advances, pipeline monitoring systems still consistently fail.

Huffington Post Blog by EcoJustice | Posted: 07/22/2015 6:54 pm EDT


1 Comment

  1. I’m a North Bay resident as well and I will do anything necessary, including chaining myself to the existing Natural Gas line they plan to switch over to bitumen, not only is that a spill waiting to happen, it will also drive the cost of heating our homes through the roof. This city is a mess, it has the worst housing situation I’ve ever seen and I’ve been all over Canada.
    The slumlords of this city are the worst imaginable, they don’t even own apartment buildings, all apartments in North Bay are homes converted into as many units as possible. I’ve seen an apartment I couldn’t stand up in, and I’m only 6 feet tall! It was 2 TINY bedrooms with no shower in bathroom and a kitchenette, the rent was 1400 a month, plus utilities!

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