An oil spill in Saskatchewan is raising concerns over the risks of the Energy East pipeline. Around 250,000 litres of oil was leaked into the North Saskatchewan River from the Husky Energy pipeline. Patrick DeRochie, from Environmental Defence, says the same thing could happen with the Energy East pipeline. He says it’s not about if a pipeline will spill, but when, which could put the drinking water of five million Canadians at risk.

Chair of a Sudbury based lobby group, the Ontario River Alliance, Linda Heron, agrees with that sentiment. She says when there is a spill, it can impact freshwater, which could impact communities. She says that’s because a lot of communities rely on rivers and lakes for their drinking water and economic development.

Heron also points out the current method for detecting oil spills is not very strong. Around 16 rail tanker cars worth of oil could leak into the water before anyone is alerted, if the current method stays in place. The ORA will be pushing for better oil leak detection standards, as well as an update on the exact waterways that will be affected by the pipeline. This comes as the National Energy Board is beginning their review of the project.

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ORA: 16 rail cars worth of oil could leak into waterways if pipeline detection system isn’t upgraded