To learn more, we spoke again with Glenn Booth, former chief economist and business leader with the National Energy Board, and an independent energy consultant.
Glenn: No pipeline company wants to have a spill on their system – it is costly, they are liable for damages and it hurts their reputation. And, like all of us, people who work for pipelines want a safe, clean environment for both themselves and their children.
Glenn: As I said above, pipeline companies are motivated to run safe systems, but it is still prudent to ensure that there is a public body looking over them to ensure that they take all steps to maximize safety. Strong regulation ensures that companies pursue best practices with respect to safety.
The record indicates that Canadian pipelines have been operating very safely over the past 60 years, and there is no evidence to suggest that public ownership would result in safer pipelines. A couple of points to bear in mind when it comes to regulation are:
Glenn: Definitely – regulators focus on safety as a primary concern, and then they conduct inspections, audits and investigations to ensure that the regulations are being met. Canada has an exceptional safety record. Consider this:
Canadian pipeline operators are subject to comprehensive and stringent regulation. And the measures in place to enforce those regulations have resulted in Canada’s extremely high safety record. Even though pipelines will always continue to strive for zero incidents, I believe that regulation is doing its job to protect Canadians and our environment.
You can learn more about pipeline safety performance in our 2015 Pipeline Industry Performance Report.
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 117,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2014, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.