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Liability measure proposed for Canadian pipeline spills

Major oil companies subject to $1 billion in costs no matter who's at fault.
By Daniel J. Graeber   |   May 15, 2014 at 9:44 AM   |   Comments

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 15 (UPI) --Companies operating pipeline systems in Canada will be liable for as much as $1 billion in costs associated with spill cleanup, the government said.

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford announced the new legislation alongside Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt.

The measure requires companies to cover as much as $1 billion in costs and damages regardless of fault. The legislation would give the National Energy Board, the nation's energy regulator, to act independently in how much it seeks from the pipeline companies.

Rickford said the legislation, which could go into force as early as this summer, enhance what he said was a world-class pipeline system regime in Canada.

"Our government is demonstrating consistent, significant action to further enhance Canada's pipeline safety system," he said Wednesday.

Russ Girling, the chief executive officer at TransCanada, said his pipeline company supports any federal action that would strengthen pipeline safety.

"One pipeline issue is too many and we must continue to strive for zero incidents," he said.

Rickford's legislation come ahead of U.S. and Canadian decisions on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline to the southern U.S. coast and the Northern Gateway pipeline, an Enbridge project planned for the western Canadian coast.

Only major pipeline companies are subject to Rickford's proposal.

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