Group of professional engineers concerned about tanker spill studies

The Concerned Professional Engineers group say the JRP recommendation for Northern Gateway contained flawed assumptions.

A group of professional engineers are saying the risk of a tanker spill is too high.

The group, called Concerned Professional Engineers, released a report earlier this month, saying that the risk assessment associated with the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project is flawed and that the burden will be on taxpayers to clean up any spill.

Their findings were released through three papers, covering taxpayer burdens, flawed risk analyses, and uncertainty over marine diluted bitumen spills clean ups.

“The National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel was irresponsible in its decision to approve the project,” said CPE spokesperson Brian Gunn. “They ignored testimony and evidence and simply accepted assurances from Northern Gateway that the risk of a major oil spill were small.”

Gunn said that CPE is not a group opposed to development of natural resources or to their transit through B.C., but said that projects should not be rushed through without a proper review.

The engineers in CPE say they went through the numbers provided by Northern Gateway but found what they call unjustified assumptions.

Gunn said the JRP’s responsibility should have been to investigate these assumptions but says they failed to do that.

As for financial consequences, Gunn said it’s taxpayers that’d be holding the bill for any spills.

“Environment Canada scientists are not convinced that spills can be cleaned up effectively. It’s clear from the JRP hearings that there are conflicts between Environment Canada and Transport Canada about whether or not this product can be cleaned up properly…If that’s the case, how can they pretend to know how much it will cost to clean up a spill?”

CPE, which consists of registered professional engineers and a Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at UBC, have sent letters to various members in the federal government and people with Enbridge.

The CPE’s own studies can be read online at

The group was primarily funded through a crowdsourcing initiative and they say no backers had influence over their research.