Energy Company Fined and Heated Debate Over Energy and Climate Continue

Posted by on Jun 24, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

A subsidiary of Husky Energy was fined nearly four million dollars for a spill from a pipeline.  The issue dates back to June 2016 when 225,000 litres of diluted crude was released near the North Saskatchewan River – 90,000 litres reached the river.

The company vice president of pipelines, Duane Rae, said the “damage has been done to both the company’s reputation and the entire Western Canadian energy industry.”

Husky’s release was in violation of the Fisheries Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act.  As a result of the release, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Tensions Rise with Bill C69

All of this comes as the federal government and energy producers in the west are at odds with one another.  Tension between jobs, energy, and concern about the climate are coming to a head.

On one hand, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, approved the Trans Mountain Pipeline.  On the other hand, many of the amendments to Bill C 69 were rejected – something that has some energy companies and conservative energy ministers upset.

Petroleum Producers Criticize Minister McKenna

According to reports, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) offered 43 amendments to Bill C-69 but only three were accepted.

CAPP CEO, Tim McMillan said, “Catherine McKenna (Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister) is wrong when she says the public needs to be protected from the oil and gas business.”

Mr. McMillan went on to say “She continues to profile our industry as if we aren’t responsible. It’s disrespectful and it’s not true … I feel their cherry-picking of issues inside this bill to enflame Canadians and then pass that over the industry, and the bill as a whole, is disrespectful to the industry — our industry, other industries and Canadians at large.”

Suncor Energy Inc. CEO, Mark Little, said the bill “jeopardizes future development and does not restore investor confidence in our industry and country.”

Canada’s energy sector accounts for nearly 11% of the gross domestic product.  Directly and indirectly, the energy sector employs or supports more than 600,000 jobs.

Minister McKenna Responds

Minister McKenna said, “…conservative premiers, MPs and senators, as well as the oil-and-gas lobbyists, wanted a bill that would guarantee every pipeline proposed would be approved without protecting the environment.”  She went on to say, “They want us to copy and paste recommendations written by oil lobbyists that would block court challenges, that would make it easier for future governments to ignore the views of Indigenous Peoples…”

Minister McKenna also introduced a (non-binding) climate emergency motion declaring that, “climate change is a real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity” and Canada is in a national climate emergency.”

Energy and GDP

How all of this politicking plays out is not insignificant.  According to Natural Resources Canada, Canada’s energy sector accounts for nearly 11% of the gross domestic product.  Directly and indirectly, the energy sector employs or supports more than 600,000 jobs.  Canada exported energy products to 145 countries in 2017.  The U.S. accounts for 91% of energy exports by value ($102.2 billion).

Debate will likely continue about the safest and most effective ways to transport oil and gas (pipeline, truck, or rail).  Debate regarding the energy sector in general will likely “spillover” into federal elections on October 21.

Environmental Assessment and Energy Resources

If you are addressing a spill, small or large, we can help with site assessment and remediation services.  For more information about how Dragun approaches environmental assessment and remediation, see our Assessment and Remediation Resources Page.

If you have questions, feel free to contact me at 519-979-7300, Ext. 114

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