Public inquiry requested into Pouce Coupe gas leak

Photo: South Peace residents request support from the PRRD board on Thursday in Dawson Creek (L-R) Ken Johnson, Brian Derfler and Lois Hill – Christine Rumleskie/


By Christine Rumleskie


Concerned South Peace residents are generating support for a proposed public inquiry into a gas leak that happened late 2009.

Members of the Peace Environment and Safety Trustees explained the idea to Peace River Regional District directors on Thursday afternoon.

On November 22nd, a gas leak occurred at an EnCana well site, forcing the evacuation of 15 nearby residents. A report by the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission concluded that a combination of sand and a high-velocity gas stream eroded a well site tee, which ruptured and caused the gas release.

Spokesperson Lois Hill says the group now has no confidence in industry emergency protocol, the reporting protocol or the report of events conducted by the B.C. OGC.

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The OGC report also found that EnCana did not follow proper protocol in its emergency program. But Hill says even if EnCana followed every step, it wouldn’t have been enough.

While there are no ‘official’ reports of injury as a result of the leak, Hill claims one woman is being treated for lung damage and one horse died.

Hill even claims that EnCana has paid the unidentified woman to replace the horse, and has sent her to Calgary for treatment.

Brian Derfler says transparency is needed, and he says that’s is why a public inquiry should be called.

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Around 30 organizations, including Northern Health, are supporting the request for a public inquiry.

On Thursday, the PRRD voted unanimously to write a letter of support for the cause.

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