Councillor Phil Germuth brought a motion before Council on Monday, June 17th to make several inquiries of Enbridge and get a written response. The questions and the answers have been included at the end of the article. These are the same questions which Germuth brought to Enbridge last year.
“Despite what Mayor and Council’s personal opinions are regarding the Enbridge Project, be it opposed, for or neutral, the actual fact is if our Federal Government deems this project to be in the best interest of our nation of Canada, you’re mayor and Council have no say in whether the project proceeds. Knowing this and knowing that we got elected to protect and promote the best interests of our community, it is our duty to ensure that any project be as safe as possible,” said Germuth. “We as the District of Kitimat have steadfast on our Northern Gateway Strategy of Neutrality, which, if we are honest with ourselves, is nothing more than relying on others to do the job we were elected to do.”
He explained the questions were brought up last year and the motion changed to asked the questions at a public meeting after they had drafted a list of items. The meeting has not happened.
“After all this time, the best explanation we can offer the people of Kitimat is that we are doing nothing and we are letting others, with no invested interest in our community, address any potential safety concerns this project could have on our community,” said Germuth.
He said it was possible for the answers to be in the many pages of documents submitted to the Joint Review Process, and if this is the case, Enbridge would be able to respond to the questions. Germuth stated the request was for all answers in writing, as there is plenty of room for misinterpretation in a verbal presentation.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan said the questions had been answered already.
Councillor Rob Goffinet talked about the two hour presentation from Enbridge to the Joint Review Panel earlier that day. He hoped the report from the JRP would inform Germuth’s motion and someone would respond with that report on the River and Valley.
Councillor Mary Murphy told Germuth the questions had been before Enbridge more than once and answered verbally. She said she knew there was a verbal reply for Germuth. She added Goffinet and Councillor Mario Feldhoff put their concerns to the JRP.
“I’m not in support of the motion only because it’s already coming and this has been at the table at least three times that we’ve had Enbridge here to answer it. If we didn’t get the right replies that we wanted, we should continually pursue it so we do,” said Murphy.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff stated the Joint Review Panel is entering the final argument phase in Terrace. They have been receiving comments and evidence. The Concerns raised have already been previously raised. He stated the BC Government have laid out their concerns. He added they did not close the door on Alberta Oil being shipped to Asian Customers via Northern Gateway pipeline.
Feldhoff added the Black Refinery will be looked at. It would create 3000 direct jobs in the Kitimat Valley and would reduce the risk posed by the Enbridge Pipeline. He wanted Kitimat Council to allow the JRP to hear final arguments and submit their report.
“The JRP Assessment of Environmental risks and the adequacy of measures to address those risks are very important to our community,” said Feldhoff.
Councillor Edwin Empinado made a tabling motion so staff can gather the answers which they have received regarding the questions. The tabling motion failed because there was no seconder.
“I don’t believe we should be asking our staff to dig through thousands upon thousands of pages. The JRP is not the one building this project, Enbridge is. We should be asking Enbridge these questions,” said Germuth.
Monaghan said she has been in touch with Enbridge and had received a written response to all of the questions seconds before the meeting. Germuth, not realizing his microphone was still on, whispered: “Kind of ridiculous the way we do things.”
Goffinet suggested the Council pass the motion and ask Joanne to give the Council the reply. He added there is the potential for further information following this.
Murphy stated every time they have had either a presentation or questions put to them, they have had Enbridge come and present to the Council and answer the questions.THE QUESTIONS AND THE ANSWERS
Questions by Phil Germuth, Answers by Michele Perret 1. What measures will Enbridge take to prevent water disruption to the DOK in the event of a spill and will it include full cost coverage?
a. The first measure is focused in prevention on issues such as route selection, thicker wall pipe, dual leak detection, berms, and increased isolation valves.
b. In the event of a spill, the response system is designed to limit the amount of oil that may enter a water body. This includes a focus on source control and the use of multiple response sites to limit the amount of oil that may reach downstream areas.
c. We would work with the District of Kitimat to develop the Emergency Response Plan. Issues to be determined with the District of Kitimat for the emergency response plan would include water intake for the District of Kitimat. The plan would cover how, in the event of an incident, we would work to mitigate impacts to the intake including shutting down the intake for the time required. The plan could also include exclusion booming, potentially air curtains, etc. Given where we are in the regulatory process, we have not yet had any discussions with the District of Kitimat regarding potential alternates for treating the water in the event of a spill. As for leak detection on the District of Kitimat intake, we could indicate that we are willing to work with them to identify potential options. This could be something like the ‘Slick Sleuth’ or similar systems that exist.
d. In the event of a spill, Northern Gateway would work with the District of Kitimat and the community to provide alternative arrangements for water, and to compensate.
2. What measures will Enbridge take to ensure the quality of water to the DOK will not be disrupted in the event of a spill?
a. Please see response to question 1 above
3. In the event of a spill what are Enbridge’s Kitimat River watershed recovery and maintenance plans throughout the year?
a. Northern Gateway prepared reply evidence that focused specifically on how project design, operations and emergency response planning process and readiness contribute to preventing spills from occurring , limiting the volume that could be spilled, and reducing potential effects in the event of a release. The reply evidence includes:
i. The Kitimat Valley Design, Construction and Operations Study Report
ii. The Preliminary Kitimat River Drainage Area Emergency Preparedness Report
b. Should the project be approved Northern Gateway will develop operational emergency response plans that will be actively tested. This plan includes manned pump stations and emergency response personnel at the Kitimat terminal as well as equipment appropriate to the Kitimat River.
4. Will Enbridge accept full liability for the restoration of Kitimat's entire water distribution system in the event contaminated water and/or product from a pipeline spill enter the distribution system and will a clean up/maintenance bond be lodged with the DOK?
a. Northern Gateway would take responsibility for costs related to a releases from the facilities it operates. Northern Gateway has agreed to have insurance in the amount of $250 million, but would have additional financial resources including cash flow of approximately $400 million annually, and the inclusion of costs in future tolls. Based on the experience of spill clean-up in Canada, Northern Gateway does not believe that an additional maintenance bond is necessary.
b. Pursuant to the NEB Act, there are no limits placed on liability for the prevention, remediation and clean-up of oil spills. Nor is there any limitation placed on liability for damages to persons, property and the environment.
5. Will Enbridge accept full liability for the loss of earnings from businesses forced to close or curtail operations due to a spill and will a bond be posed?
a. Please see response to Number 4.
6. What plan does Enbridge have to protect the Kitimat River Hatchery from the effects of a spill?
a. Northern Gateway included the Kitimat River Hatchery as a protection site within the Preliminary Kitimat River Drainage Area Emergency Preparedness Report
b. Northern Gateway will work with DFO to enhance this protection strategy during project development.
7. What are the findings from the impact studies that Enbridge has done on the effects of a spill that impacts both land and water use in the Kitimat River watershed and what studies has Enbridge done on the impact a spill will have on the city of Kitimat? Are those findings available to the DOK, and if not when?
a. Kitimat River Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessment (EHHRA) https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/ll-eng/livelink.exe?func=ll&objId=831412&objAction=browse
i. The purpose of the Kitimat River EHHRA was to assess the effects of a hypothetical full bore rupture of the Northern Gateway oil pipeline in the upper watershed of the Kitimat River on downstream areas. The assessment looked at acute (i.e., immediate) effects and chronic (longer-term) effects on ecological health and human health. Information from the assessment was used to inform the Joint Review Panel on the environmental effects of potential accidents and malfunctions. It will also be used in informing spill response planning.
ii. The Kitimat River EHHRA used a combination of sophisticated models to predict overland flow, as well as the likely distribution of an oil spill in space and time along the downstream areas of the Kitimat River. Such modelling allowed predictions about the behaviour of oil in the Kitimat River and how different components of oil may move in the environment. This information was used to predict potential immediate and long term effects on a broad suite of freshwater species and wildlife, as well as human health risks associated with direct contact and consumption of water or country foods.
b. Pipeline Environmental Effects Monitoring Program
i. The Pipeline Environmental Effects Monitoring Program will
ii. measure effects of routine operations along the proposed pipeline corridor, and confirm predictions in the environmental assessment;
iii. assess the effectiveness of Project design features and mitigation measures;
iv. establish data on environmental quality and the abundance, distribution and diversity of terrestrial and freshwater biota which would serve as a baseline for long-term monitoring in the event of an oil spill; and
v. provide context for determining restoration endpoints.
vi. The program will include several locations within the Kitimat River watershed. At each location, control sites will be located upstream of the pipeline watercourse crossings, as well as sites at the watercourse crossing and at multiple locations downstream of the watercourse crossing. Seasonal sampling will occur before, during and after construction, as well as after operations. Details on the monitoring program for the Kitimat River will be developed in consultation with the Haisla First Nations and government agencies.
8. Besides SCADA and MBS leak detection, what extra leak detection technology will be installed on all sections of pipeline here a leak could affect the Kitimat watershed?
a. Northern Gateway commits to applying industry best practices in leak detection, and apply dual leak detection systems. This commitment will be realized through employing industry-leading technologies, developed processes, and skilled personnel. Enbridge is also committed to continuous improvement of its leak detection strategy which is a comprehensive, multi-layered approach for its pipeline network. The strategy encompasses five primary detection methods, each with a different focus and featuring differing technology, resources and timing. Used together, these methods provide an overlapping and comprehensive leak detection capability.
b. As we discussed before, Enbridge is currently undergoing a large research initiative to identify and test complementary leak detection technologies suitable for underground transmission pipelines. One of our initiatives includes an evaluation of fibre optic and odour sensing cables to ensure the technology actually performs as vendors claim.
c. In addition, Enbridge is actively investigating and testing a number of other leak detection technologies that are complimentary to the current leak detection system and aimed at detecting smaller leaks. Some of these are based on acoustic wave technologies including sensors. If performance is acceptable, Enbridge would plan to implement new technologies on the Northern Gateway pipelines.
d. The appropriate application of a suitable technology would be considered for the entire length of the lines, providing that it contributes to a measurable improvement to leak detection performance.
9. What type of leak detection technology will be installed on the DOK water intake system to safeguard the intrusion of contaminants into our water distribution system?
a. Northern Gateway is not currently planning on installing any leak detection at the District’s water intake system but would be happy to work with the District of Kitimat to examine the potential need or use of these types of systems.