Bridging the gap – finding common ground on pipelines

“People are concerned about spills and the environment, and particularly in our region – water resources. They don’t know who is responsible and who will pay when things go wrong.”

Those are the words of Valerie Roy, CEO of the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, and a member of CEPA’s External Advisory Panel (EAP). As a member of the EAP, Valerie provides valuable insights into what the people of her region think about the pipeline industry.

That sentiment suggests a disconnect between pipeline operators, who are working hard to deliver much needed energy in the safest manner possible, and some of the people in our country. We will be exploring that further in this post.

Is there an answer?

“It comes down to communication,” said Valerie. “Very early on – ‘what are the facts regarding this industry?’ [Many] people don’t know the facts – they might see a headline in the newspaper, but the general public isn’t in the [pipeline] business, so they really don’t have all the information.”

“The industry needs to explain what it means when they say they’re going to build a pipeline,” she continued. “Where is it going to go, what are the safety factors during construction? And once the pipeline is constructed, what are the ongoing safety factors, monitoring, emergency preparedness, etc.?”

Let’s talk

That’s why CEPA has a ‘Let’s Talk Pipelines’ brochure. It’s short, easy to read and packed with information. Check it out, and you’ll find tons of pipeline facts, as well as answers to the questions we most frequently receive. Questions like:

  • How are pipelines regulated? Who enforces them?
  • How is the pipeline industry improving its operations?
  • What happens when there’s a spill?
  • How are pipeline companies addressing climate change?

We realize it’s just one piece of the puzzle. As Valerie pointed out, “There’s a role for information pieces, a role for social media. But at the end of the day you can’t beat face-to-face. I think people need to become more familiar with the faces behind the industry and hopefully that will lead to a greater level of trust.”

You can also read the rest of the interview with Valerie Roy in ‘Let’s Talk Pipelines’.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 119,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2015, 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.