File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Jean Laporte of the Transportation Safety Board speaks at an environmental hearing on the Energy East pipeline.

Hike in serious rail, pipeline accidents in 2017 says safety board

OTTAWA — Serious accidents involving both rail and pipeline transport of dangerous substances like crude oil and gas increased in 2017 over the previous year, according to statistics compiled by the Transportation Safety Board.

Of the total 1,090 railway incidents that were serious enough to be deemed ”accidents” last year, 115 involved dangerous substances, including five accidents where the substances leaked. That’s up from 100 accidents involving dangerous goods in 2016 that included only two involving leaks.

Similarly, the number of pipeline accidents went up last year to five from zero in 2016. One of those accidents resulted in the February 2017 spill of nearly 200,000 litres of crude oil condensate from an Enbridge pipeline at an industrial site near Edmonton.

Jean Laporte, the Chief Operating Officer of the Transportation Safety Board, said his agency will be looking in the coming months into why serious railway accidents have gone up.

“The overall railway accident numbers that increased are what we’re going to be analyzing in more detail,” said Laporte.

“We’re going to dig a bit deeper in the next little while to understand why and see if there’s anything that needs to be analyzed further in the coming year.”

As for the increase in pipeline accidents, Laporte is less worried. He believes the main reason they saw a spike in accidents was due to a rainier year, which caused more soil erosion that exposed pipelines to disruptions and spills.

“We’re not particularly concerned about this increase at this time,” said Laporte. “Now, in future years, we’ll be looking to see whether that becomes a pattern, whether there’s a continuous increase or not.”

Meanwhile, Statistics Canada also released pipeline data Tuesday that showed the amount of crude oil that flowed through Canadian pipelines in December 2017. According to the data, there has been a 3.9 per cent increase in the amount of oil being transported to and from Canadian oil fields and plants over the last year.

Adam Najmala, an analyst with Statistics Canada, said the increase is most likely due to a stable recovery after the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire shut down oil sands companies and slowed crude oil production across the country.

“[December] seemed pretty strong historically,” said Najmala. “Definitely these number are pretty stable.”

Just Posted

Man in huge weapons bust gets prison

Nearly 30 firearms and stolen property seized in November 2017 police search

Municipalities fighting for share of bankrupt oilpatch assets

Lacombe and Clearwater Counties among 11 rural municipalities seeking secured creditor status

Carr downplays tanker traffic risk, says legislation not developed yet

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government hasn’t yet “landed” on its promised… Continue reading

Broncos hockey player Conner Lukan loved most animals, watched ‘The Bachelor’

SLAVE LAKE, Alta. — He tore around on quads, roughhoused with his… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s newest public art unveiled

Red Deer’s latest “ghost” sculpture is a love letter to the game… Continue reading

Rielly helping to lead Leafs pushback against Bruins ahead of crucial Game 4

TORONTO — Morgan Rielly would head back to Vancouver early in his… Continue reading

Police confirm fleeing suspect shot dead by RCMP was Calgary woman’s killer

CALGARY — Police have confirmed that a fleeing suspect who was shot… Continue reading

Red Deerians celebrate 100 years of CNIB

Central Albertans celebrated a century of change for blind and partially sighted… Continue reading

33 abused Chihuahuas found in Maryland SUV

When the animal control investigator first got the call, he didn’t believe… Continue reading

Red Deer man who helped recover more than 400 stolen vehicles suffers heart attack

GoFundMe page has been launched to support him and his family

Melting Arctic sea ice may be behind endless winter: scientists

Scientists are suspecting that not enough winter in the Arctic has led… Continue reading

Canada’s oldest blood donor says busy mind, vitamins helped her give back

VANCOUVER — Beatrice Janyk credits vitamins, 12 hours of sleep a day,… Continue reading

Humboldt Broncos tribute concert aims to bring in 30 NHL players, alumni for event

Organizers behind a Saskatoon tribute concert to honour the Humboldt Broncos say… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month