Canadian pipeline safety record questioned

July 18, 2012 at 6:58 AM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 18 (UPI) -- An environmental group in Canada said it was frustrated with pipeline safety pledges given recent oil spills in the region.

Pipeline company Kinder Morgan aims to expand its Canadian pipeline network given surging demand for oil from Asian markets. Its 700-mile Trans Mountain pipeline from tar sands operations in Alberta has averaged about one leak each year, though they were minor compared with recent spills.

"The tools we have today can see much smaller defects than we used to, maybe even 10 years ago," Kinder Morgan Vice President Hugh Harden told The Vancouver Sun newspaper in British Columbia.

Ben West, a campaigner for the Western Wilderness Committee said it was difficult to take testimony from oil executives in good faith.

"We hear from them they will do everything in their power to make these the safest pipelines possible," he told the newspaper. "And it seems like every other week there's something rupturing."

Pipeline company Plains Midstream Canada deployed containment boom and hundreds of workers to respond to a leak from its Rangeland pipeline system in Alberta province in mid-June. That spill corresponded with recent similar incidents from Enbridge and Pace Energy Oil and Gas.

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