MERRITT (NEWS1130) – Kinder Morgan says there’s no threat to the public after a small oil spill was found on its Trans Mountain pipeline near Merritt.

The company says crews were doing regular maintenance in the area when they spotted the leak. As a precaution, the pipeline was shut down.

This is the same line Kinder Morgan hopes to double capacity on.

Kinder Morgan’s Andy Galarnyk says the amount is about 12 barrels of light crude oil. “Spills do occur occasionally. Every pipeline company does pipeline maintenance and integrity work, and this is the whole reason behind the monitoring that we do.”

The premier says she doesn’t know yet if yesterday’s ruptured pipeline will impact her decision on its expansion to the Lower Mainland.

Speaking on day one of her byelection campaign in West Kelowna, Premier Christy Clark says she is thankful it was a small spill. “It really underlines why I am so concerned about our spill response in this province. So, with proposals to move Alberta’s heavy oil, we need to be concerned about spilll response and we need to be concerned about pipeline maintenance.”

Clark says the spill will likely be brought up during a meeting with Alberta Premier Alison Redford tomorrow.

Gwen Barlee with the Wilderness Committee says it shows the danger of pipelines.

The spill work area near Merritt

The spill work area near Merritt

“As we know from other pipeline spills around the world, they can and do happen, and there’s a big risk attached to that. The risk, of course, is not only the pipeline spill, but the massive increase in tankers that is associated with this pipeline,” she tells us.

“It’s a timely reminder. Pipelines aren’t foolproof, tankers aren’t foolproof. Accidents can and do happen and that’s what we’re seeing today.”

The National Energy Board is among the groups that have responded. It happened in a remote area near Kingsvale.

Both the company and the Energy Board suggest the impact is minimal.

The news comes a day before the premier meets with her counterpart from Alberta in Kelowna, where pipelines will no doubt be a main topic.