Richard Girard on Enbridge and Pipelines

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I recently got the chance to sit down with Richard Girard of the Polaris institute in Ottawa. He has just released a corporate profile of oil pipeline giant Enbridge. We run through his findings, how the pipelines are compromising the environmental health and safety of local communities and the ties between government and industry. Our interview went a bit long, but we go through a lot of interesting issues surrounding the extraction, transportation and use of oil in the Canadian west.

You can download the full Corporate Profile Report here.

TarSands Watch
Polaris Institute

While we primarily service industry, it is more important than ever to ensure industry is acting responsibly and transparently. With millions of barrels of oil pouring into the gulf, we need to ensure our government aires not the side of caution, something I fear we have not done in the TarSands.

Tarsands production consumption of natural resources

Pembina goes on to estimate that the increased tar sands production made possible by a new half-million barrels per day pipeline from the tar sands would: consume the amount of natural gas consumed by 1.3 million Canadian households each year; disturb 11.5 square kilometers of Boreal forest; consume 200 million barrels of processing water; and create over 4 billion litres of toxic tailings of which 455 million litres will leak into Alberta’s watersheds.157

Spills and leaks in the pipeline

Spills, leaks and ruptures that have occurred on Enbridge pipelines over the past ten years. Between 1999 and 2008, across all of Enbridge’s operations there were 610 spills that released close to 132,000 barrels (21 million litres) of
hydrocarbons into the environment.1 This amounts to approximately half of the oil that spilled from the oil tanker the Exxon Valdez after it struck a rock in Prince William Sound, Alaska in 1988.