Newspaper article The Canadian Press

National Energy Board Orders Pipeline Firms to Post Emergency Manuals Online

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

National Energy Board Orders Pipeline Firms to Post Emergency Manuals Online

Article excerpt

Pipeline emergency plans must be public: NEB

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CALGARY - Canada's energy watchdog is ordering pipeline companies to post their emergency response plans online as part of a broader effort to build public trust.

The National Energy Board believes it's the first regulator in North America to have that requirement. Companies must have their emergency procedures manuals available on their websites by the end of September, according to the order issued Tuesday.

Some information may be excluded, such as personal information and details that may jeopardize security or harm traditional indigenous sites or at-risk species.

Board chairman Peter Watson has been travelling the country discussing the role of a regulator that at one time flew under the radar of most Canadians.

Based on the feedback he got, Watson said there is a growing public appetite for transparency as the debate intensifies over pipelines and the development of the oil and gas they carry.

"We've always reviewed manuals, we've always reviewed companies' emergency management systems to make sure they're robust, but Canadians are now saying they want more information and we're just acting on what Canadians are telling us," Watson said in an interview in the NEB's downtown Calgary office.

"This is an example where I felt quite strongly that we could put more information out about companies' emergency response plans and help people understand what's at play and how these things work. And that will, I think, give them more confidence that we know what we're doing around these systems for emergency response."

The order applies to Kinder Morgan's existing Trans Mountain pipeline, which ships 300,000 barrels a day of various petroleum products from Alberta to the B.C. Lower Mainland.

Kinder Morgan is aiming to triple the capacity of the line. The NEB has wrapped up hearings into that contentious project and Ottawa's final decision is expected in December. …

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