It is now more than a week since Husky oil spilled in to the North Saskatchewan River.
Major questions are being asked not only about the safety of pipelines but also the strength of the environmental assessment to which they are subject to.
This particular spill came from a section of Husky pipeline built in 1997.
In recent years Husky has been expanding its pipeline system and it has now been revealed those new sections, added in 2014, were not subject to an environmental assessment.
The government maintains that is normal if the new sections are connected to the original system.
“If there are adequate regulations in place or processes in place to do those environmental reviews, the full environmental impact assessment would not be required,” explained Wes Kotyk, executive director of the environmental protection branch. “Do we have regulations in place already to deal with these activities? Is it a new technology or not? These are all of the factors that play a role.”
Kotyk maintains there are a number of questions asked when pipelines are approved including how close they are to a source of drinking water. That’s definitely a factor in new pipelines he said, while adding it’s considered in an extension of a pipeline as well.
This oil spill has impacted the drinking water of some 69,000 Saskatchewan residents.