Author: Northern Gateway
Dated: 26 April 2013
A study released today by Tom Gunton, of Simon Fraser University, comes to a flawed set of conclusions about the likelihood of an incident related to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline.
Here is our position on the issue of safety: Northern Gateway has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to marine and pipeline safety. Our efforts are focused on ensuring safe operations coupled with rigorous emergency response capability in the unlikely event of an incident. While we have spent enormous effort and resources modeling the possibility of an incident, our number one priority is on safety and preventing an incident from occurring in the first place.
We are very concerned about the misleading report released by Mr. Gunton, who was a witness for the Coastal First Nations organization during the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel process.
Mr. Gunton should have made his study available to the JRP process, the most thorough review of a pipeline that’s ever taken place in Canada. All of Northern Gateway’s conclusions have been subject to peer review, information requests and questioning by intervenors and the Joint Review Panel.
However the author chose not to participate in the JRP process with this study. Instead, he chose to release this study after the process ended. Given the timing, we can only conclude this study was purposely kept off the evidence record to avoid being tested in the hearing process.
Our experts have identified a number of omissions, flawed assumptions and modeling errors in the study and have serious concerns with its conclusions:
We question why Mr. Gunton chose to exclude this report from the JRP process when he has had ample opportunity to submit evidence through his longstanding relationship with registered intervenors Coastal First Nations. He could have also tested our risk assessment evidence through this lengthy, rigorous and transparent process, however, both he and Coastal First Nations chose not to.
Furthermore, this flawed study appears to be a follow up to a March 2012 report Mr. Gunton wrote for the Coastal First Nations which was widely used in their public relations efforts but not submitted as evidence in the Joint Review Panel process—which leads us to question Mr. Gunton’s suggestion today’s report wasn’t filed as evidence because of its date of publication.
We’d like the public to know that our Quantitative Risk Analysis work provided ample opportunity for project opponents like Mr. Gunton and the Coastal First Nations to influence design methodology as well as help select the experts contracted to conduct the work.
It’s unfortunate that studies like the one by Mr. Gunton do more to mislead than inform.