One of the companies at the centre of the proposed Energy East pipeline project has had 19 “environmental emergencies” at existing facilities in eastern Canada since 2012, according to New Brunswick Department of Environment records reviewed by Reuters.
“According to the documents, Irving Oil’s 300,000 barrel per day refinery and its associated storage terminals in the industrial city of Saint John, New Brunswick have had environmental emergencies ranging from petroleum spills as big as 3,000 barrels, to smaller incidents such as refinery emissions of sulphur dioxide exceeding permitted levels,” the news agency reports.
“Irving says it performs better on some measures than its peers, and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading its facilities. Environmental groups campaigning against Energy East say the documents show the company lags behind other operators.”
Catherine Abreu of the Ecology Action Centre said the Irving refinery “had over 25% more comparable environmental incidents since 2012 than a similarly-sized facility near Quebec City, and as many as six times more than another plant near Montreal,” Valdmanis and Sherwood write. “How they do in terms of preventing spills and how they manage them when they occur is hugely relevant to the discussion over whether Energy East should go ahead,” Abreu said.