MERRITT, B.C. – The National Energy Board says an oil spill that forced the shutdown of the Trans Mountain pipeline near Merritt, B.C., amounted to less than six barrels.
That’s just under 1,000 litres of oil — a tiny amount compared to the 300,000 barrels the pipeline ships each day, but still enough for environmentalists to highlight their concerns about Kinder Morgan’s plans to vastly expand the pipeline’s capacity.
Board spokeswoman Rebecca Taylor says the board will determine the exact amount of the spill during its investigation in the coming days.
Despite the small amount of oil leaked, Taylor says the board considers any release of oil as a serious incident.
Taylor says Kinder Morgan closed the pipeline immediately after the leak was discovered during routine maintenance Wednesday and has removed the contaminated soil from the area.
The board has the ability to keep the pipeline shut down until its safety concerns are satisfied, but Taylor says new regulations allowing the board to issue fines don’t take into effect until July.