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Mainline gas pipeline explodes near Winnipeg

The Canadian Press reports, “Five homes (in Otterburne) remain evacuated as TransCanada Piplelines deals with a natural gas pipeline fire (near St. Pierre-Jolys), about 25 kilometres south of Winnipeg. TransCanada says it has shut down the Emerson Lateral portion of the Canadian Mainline natural gas pipeline system and is venting the gas.”

Still from video shot by Jason Thompson.
Still from video shot by Jason Thompson.

TransCanada wants to convert part of their Mainline gas pipeline (built in the 1950’s) to ship 1.1 million barrels per day of oil, including diluted bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands, to the Irving oil refinery and deep water port in Saint John, New Brunswick and offshore export markets.

Earlier this month, the Dominion reported, “Winnipeg-based environmental groups and members of Idle No More are concerned about how close the proposed pipeline will run to Shoal Lake, ON, the source of Winnipeg’s drinking water. …(An) open house (in September) in Kenora was staffed by over a dozen TransCanada employees and an Aboriginal relations firm…, but (they) were unable to provide concrete information about how close the pipeline will run to Shoal Lake. The exhibit’s detailed satellite maps of the pipeline’s path omitted the area west of Kenora to the Manitoba–Ontario border, where Shoal Lake lies.”

Today’s news report notes, “The closed portion of the pipeline system provides Manitoba Hydro with natural gas for several communities in the region. TransCanada says it’s working with the utility to determine if alternative sources of gas are needed.”

Video of the explosion can be seen here.

Further reading
Council of Canadians at OEB stakeholder group meeting
Energy East pipeline poses threats to watersheds along its route