Emera pipeline will be safe, company says
The company that wants to run a natural gas pipeline through the city of Saint John is promising to do what it can to address safety concerns from the city's fire chief.
Emera plans to build a pipeline from the liquid natural gas terminal in Mispec, through the city anddown to the U.S. border.
Saint John fire chiefRob Simonds doesn't like the preferred route for the project. Simonds submitted a report to city council Monday night and says arupture to the pipeline is unlikely, but could be catastrophic.
Hisreport says a high intensity fire would rapidly burn an area extending 300 metresfrom the point ofa rupture. The report refers to thisareaas the "hot zone."
Some of the facilities inside the hot zone along the proposed route include the Irving oil refinery, manufacturing plants that use hazardous materials, an electrical substation that powers the regional hospital, and a radio tower that is an important part of the police and fire departments' communication systems.
He says pipeline accidents have caused the deaths of 60 people in the past 20 years in North America.
Company cites perfect safety record
Emera spokesman Steve Rankinsays his companywill take all necessarysafety precautions.
"We've been operating our pipeline with a perfect safety record for the last several years," Rankin said. "We've been in operation since 1999. Actually our emergency response plan has been recognized in Nova Scotia by the EMO for its standards and its oversight."
Rankin says the company can take extra precautions such as increasing the wall thickness of a pipeline when it runs through densely populated areas. He says it's common for large pipelines to run through urban areas in Ontario and Alberta.
The National Energy Board is holding hearings in November into Emera Brunswick Pipeline Company Ltd.'s proposed route for its natural gas pipeline.
The company prefers the route through the city while opponents such as the Friends of Rockwood Park, city council and the fire chieffavour a route under the Bay of Fundy.