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Energy regulator issues penalty for multiple notices of non-compliance

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The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) has released full details of a $40,000 Administrative Monetary Penalty issued to Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc. (TNPI), the maximum amount based on the facts of this case. The company had received multiple notices of non-compliances and enforcement actions related to contaminated sites, and issuing this fine was the next step in the effort to bring the company into compliance. This is the second financial penalty issued to TNPI in less than 10 months, with the last one issued in July 2020 related to an incident where a contractor hit a pipe while digging.

Companies are required to develop, implement and maintain an environmental protection program (EPP) that anticipates, prevents, manages and mitigates conditions that could have a negative impact on the environment. The CER issued the penalty to TNPI for not being able to show that its environmental protection program met CER requirements for the management of contaminated sites, a violation of Section 48 of the Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR).

In this case, contamination along a TNPI pipeline migrated off the right-of-way into a nearby back yard, coming within five to ten metres of a home. The penalty was issued because the company couldn't prove that it had done what it should to keep the contamination from spreading.

At the time of the 2019 field inspection, CER inspectors found that there were too many unknowns to fully understand the potential risk to human health and the environment, so they issued an Inspection Officer Order requiring the company to do more sampling of the area and submit results to the CER. The company completed the required testing and was given permission to resume work on June 3, 2019. Based on the data submitted, residents are not exposed to unsafe levels of contamination.

TNPI has submitted a plan to clean up the site to the CER, and is currently testing the proposed clean up technology. The CER is currently reviewing the company's plan and awaiting the results of the test. In the meantime, the company has been conducting regular monitoring of soil vapour and groundwater, and is submitting the results of these tests to us on a regular basis so that TNPI and the CER can monitor the situation and ensure the residents are protected throughout the process.

An administrative monetary penalty is only one tool in the CER's enforcement toolkit. Other enforcement tools available to the NEB include Notices of Non-Compliance, Inspection Officer Orders, Safety Orders, revocation of a company's authorization to operate; and even in extreme cases, criminal prosecution. We will never hesitate to take enforcement action if required and we do so is in a way that is fair and transparent.

"The companies we oversee have to do everything they can to keep people and environment safe. This penalty is yet another way we are working to make sure something like this doesn't happen again," said Gitane De Silva, chief executive officer, CER.

Company info

Suite 210, 517 Tenth Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
CA, T2R 0A8


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