Alberta pipeline safety report won’t be made public right away

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EDMONTON – The Redford government will not immediately release the results of an independent review of pipeline safety in Alberta despite opposition calls to do so, Energy Minister Ken Hughes said Tuesday.

The report was commissioned in July 2012 after a scathing U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board report and three local pipeline leaks triggered unprecedented public concern.

It was completed by G10 Engineering in December, while a related report by the Energy Resources Conservation Board was completed in March. Hughes said they will both be made public, but he did not give a date.

“It’s important to have the full context. It’s a fairly technical review and we’ll release it in the fullness of time,” Hughes said.

“Meanwhile, the pipeline industry is doing a lot of work to ensure they are performing at the high level that we expect them to perform at. … We have 400,000 kilometres of pipeline in this province; people in this province know how to manage and operate pipelines effectively.

“One of my messages when I sat down with the pipeline industry last summer was that everybody had to perform at the best possible level and to get to a more consistent level of performance right across the pipeline industry.”

Hughes made the comments after NDP MLA Rachel Notley accused the government of delaying the release of the report to avoid a “full, rigorous and public debate about the quality of pipeline safety and oversight in the province of Alberta.

“As Albertans, we have a right to expect that our government will do everything it can to promote and protect our public safety, our health and our environment,” she said.

Notley said that Canada’s auditor general and Saskatchewan’s auditor general have both raised serious concerns about pipeline safety in Canada, as did the NTSB report released last summer. The NTSB report blamed Calgary-based Enbridge for “pervasive organizational failures” that led to a massive pipeline spill in Michigan three years ago.

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