Environmental Protection Order – Pipeline Failure
On July 17, 2015, the AER issued an environmental protection order (“EPO”) to Nexen Energy ULC (“Nexen”), after a failure on Nexen’s pipeline licence number 54767 (the “Pipeline”) which occurred on July 15, 2015. The Pipeline leaked approximately 5,000 cubic metres of emulsion consisting of 75 percent water and 25 percent bitumen into the surrounding right of way.
The AER was of the opinion that the release had caused, was causing or may cause an adverse impact on the environment, and that remedial work was required to mitigate the adverse effects. Therefore the AER issued the EPO.
The EPO directed Nexen to, among other things:
(a) Immediately contain the spill and prevent the further spread of the emulsion to any unaffected areas or waterbodies;
(b) Immediately identify and report on potentially affected parties that could be adversely affected by the release and to create a plan to notify such parties;
(c) Report to the director appointed for the purposes of issuing environmental protection orders under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (the “Director”) at 12:00 pm each day with a list of parties and times that they were notified until otherwise directed;
(d) Immediately control public access to the affected area;
(e) Immediately commence sampling at least once per 24 hour period, for hydrocarbons and chlorides in the affected waterbodies, wetlands and airshed until otherwise directed, and to provide the results of such samples by 12:00 pm each day;
(f) Immediately conduct an assessment of impacted wildlife, including fish, waterfowl and amphibians; and
(g) Report to the Director at the end of each day on the inventory of impacted wildlife until otherwise directed.
The EPO also required Nexen to submit by July 22, 2015:
(a) A detailed delineation and remediation plan outlining the steps to be taken to remediate the substance;
(b) A wildlife mitigation plan to prevent impacts and rehabilitate impacted wildlife; and
(c) For the humane euthanasia of impacted wildlife.
Under the terms of the EPO, Nexen is also required to submit a final report to the Director within 30 days of completion of all required work in the EPO, including verification that the work has met all standards and criteria as specified by the Director.