'I'm not satisfied': Sask. Premier Brad Wall remarks on oil spill
Published Wednesday, July 27, 2016 11:55AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 27, 2016 2:17PM EDT
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says although Husky Energy appears to be doing what it can to clean up an oil spill that has affected drinking water in some communities, he is ‘not satisfied’ with the situation.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Wall commented on the government and emergency response after a pipeline leaked approximately 200,000 to 250,000 litres of oil and oil thinning chemicals into the river near Maidstone, Sask. last week. The spill from Husky Energy, left several communities scrambling to protect their water supplies, or find alternative sources, as the oil slick moves downriver.
Asked whether he was pleased with the cleanup response, Wall said it “appears” that Husky Energy is doing what it can to remedy the problem.
“There’s been a spill and people are without water,” he said. “No, I’m not satisfied, no one should be satisfied, including Husky.”
Wall said he has reached out to mayors of communities where drinking water is affected by the spill, to see “if they need other resources from government that they don’t feel are forthcoming.”
As of Monday morning, after the city also stopped drawing water from the river, Prince Albert officials said their community only had a 48-hour water supply. The city has declared a state of emergency and banned most outdoor use of water.
Wall said that he supported Prince Albert’s plan to use a temporary pipeline to boost the city’s water supply, as the city needs to get water “as soon as possible.”
The temporary pipeline pumps are not expected to be ready until Friday, so in the meantime, the city will draw water from its retention pond. The body of water is expected to provide an extra four or five days’ worth of overall supply.
During a conference call on Wednesday, officials said that retention water in Prince Albert is being treated and that the hose pipeline to a nearby river should be operational by Friday. Rural residents are under a precautionary boil-water advisory.
Last Friday, the community of North Battleford stopped drawing water from the river and began using well water. Water intakes have also been shut down in Melfort.
On Tuesday, Husky released an incident report that indicated the company knew something might be awry with one of its oil pipelines approximately 14 hours before the Saskatchewan government was notified of a problem.
The provincial government will be reviewing all procedures related to the spill and how it was managed, Wall said, but he added that Husky appeared to have been following all the proper processes in dealing with the spill.
The premier also said that he expected Husky to follow through with its vow to be responsible for the cleanup costs.
Wall said questions about whether pipelines are a safe for oil transportation should be dealt with at a later date, as officials work to respond to the spill.
“We’ll get into the debate on pipelines versus rail or how we move oil across this country at a later date, but for now I think we should just set it aside,” Wall said.
Wall is set to tour communities impacted by the oil spill on Thursday.
With files from The Canadian Press