PEST calling for Encana inquiry

The Peace Environment and Safety Trustees is calling for a public inquiry into the sour gas leak at an Encana facility in 2009.

The Encana Corporation is set to appear in court in October to face charges of introducing business-related waste into the environment and failing to report a spill of a polluting substance.

The charges stem from the incident at a facility near Dawson Creek on Nov. 22, 2009.

Lois Hill is a member of PEST and says an inquiry would help draw attention to existing flaws in the system for reporting gas leaks.

However, she says her organization is relieved to learn that the government is pressing charges against Encana.

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Hill says the charges have been laid under the Environmental Management Act, but the charges still don’t take into account any negative effects the dumping caused to people or animals.

Encana’s V-P of media relations, Alan Boras, says the company won’t comment about any case specifics, but that it is working to ensure similar incidents don’t occur in the future.

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The company had come under scrutiny after the gas leak for not taking quick enough action to follow its emergency procedures.

Sour gas refers to a gas containing a significant amount of hydrogen sulfides, a highly toxic compound that can cause widespread health problems to both humans and animals.

After the incident, the Oil and Gas Commission released a report outlining procedures and directions the company would have to follow by set dates.

Hill says it appears that the company has followed the requirements laid out by the OGC, however she adds that no one can know whether improvements to its emergency response plan work unless a similar incident occurs.

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