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Pipeline bill holds industry accountable

May 20, 2015

Federal Bill C-46, the Pipeline Safety Act, passed the third House of Commons reading on May 6, and is currently undergoing final readings in the Senate. If passed in current form, the Bill will require companies to be automatically held responsible for up to $1 billion in damages from unintended or uncontrolled releases from pipelines.

The Bill seeks to reinforce the polluter pays principle by confirming that companies are liable for $1 billion of damages without proof of fault or negligence. It requires that companies operating pipelines maintain necessary financial resources to pay this amount of liability. In addition, the Bill confirms that companies remain responsible for old pipelines after they are abandoned. This Bill addresses AUMA’s earlier advocacy on the need to hold industry liable for environmental impacts of in-use, and abandoned energy infrastructure.

Bill C-46 applies to federally regulated pipelines under the National Energy Board Act, which includes all pipelines that cross inter-provincial or international boundaries. This covers approximately 73,000 kilometers of pipelines owned by 100 pipeline companies.