Canada to Announce New Measures Today on Pipeline Safety

Canadian Natural Resource Minister Greg Rickford will announce new measures today to bolster pipeline safety as the government prepares to make a decision on whether to approve Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway project.

Rickford and Transport Minister Lisa Raitt will make the announcement at 6:30 p.m. New York time in Vancouver, according to an advisory issued by his office. No details were given.

Raitt also said yesterday the governing Conservatives will beef up oversight of oil-tanker traffic. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is expected to decide on the C$6.5 billion ($6 billion) Gateway project by mid-June.

Delays by the U.S. in reviewing the Keystone XL pipeline that would ship Alberta oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast are increasing pressure on Canada to build more pipeline capacity domestically and to seek new routes to overseas markets. The government is beefing up transport safety as part of an effort to mitigate environmental concerns.

Raitt said yesterday Canada will boost oversight of oil-tanker traffic by drafting new safety plans in four heavily-used zones and increasing how much companies would have to contribute toward cleaning up spills. She’s also seeking to ramp up rail safety as companies stymied by pipeline bottlenecks ship more oil by train.

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