British Columbia questions Enbridge plans

Sept. 10, 2012 at 10:08 AM

EDMONTON, Alberta, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- A lawyer for the provincial government in British Columbia suggested pipeline company Enbridge underestimated potential oil spill costs.

Elisabeth Graff, a lawyer for the provincial government, said that an estimate by Enbridge of $14,000 in cleanup costs per barrel of oil spilled was too little.

"We have a corporate giant whose liability is limited," she was quoted by the Edmonton Journal as saying.

Graff pointed to an Enbridge oil spill in Michigan in 2010, the costliest onshore incident in U.S. history. Using the company's figures, she said, Enbridge would've paid around $280 million instead of the $760 million paid so far.

Enbridge said the Michigan spill was rare in terms of severity. The company has expressed its commitment to safety during its efforts to move forward with plans for its $6 billion Northern Gateway pipeline for Canada's west coast.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark had called for greater consideration for the regional environment while also calling for a "fair share" of the economic benefits that would reflect the provincial burden.

Northern Gateway would carry around 585,000 barrels of so-called tar sands oil a day from Alberta though British Columbia.

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