Mr. Chair, thank you for providing me with this opportunity to share some remarks with you.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you very much.
My name is Jim Donihee. I'm the chief operating officer and the acting chief executive officer for the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association. I thank you for the opportunity to present some remarks.
First I'll give you some background. CEPA operates 115,000 kilometres of transmission pipelines across Canada, much of which falls under the jurisdiction of the National Energy Board. Our members transport approximately 97% of all of the daily natural gas and onshore crude oil that is produced, and we have been bringing it to markets very safely for some 60 years. For example, in 2014 our members collectively transported over five trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products. This represents approximately 23% of Canada's mercantile trade, and it makes an extremely significant contribution to the social fabric of our nation.
While our longstanding operational safety record of 99.9995% between 2002 and 2013 is truly exceptional, at the same time we recognize that it is not sufficient; it's not good enough. Our CEOs have publicly committed to zero incidents on pipelines, and we're very actively working to get there.
Bill C-46 as proposed certainly complements our industry's strong belief in the polluter pays principle, excellence in emergency response, pipeline safety, and environmental protection. For that reason, and to reassure Canadians that our industry is fully dedicated to a safe and socially responsible energy pipeline transmission industry, CEPA supports the proposed regulation.
Our members are focused first and foremost on pipeline safety and the prevention of all incidents throughout the entire life cycle of pipelines. This continuous focus on safety saw us invest over $1.4 billion in 2013 alone, in order to ensure the safety of these pipelines. We're working aggressively through our program entitled CEPA integrity first, a management systems approach that is addressing critical priorities in pipeline operations, commencing with pipeline integrity and control room management. The integrity first program, patterned after the responsible care initiative of the chemical industry, will drive significant performance throughout our industry based on our sincere desire to exceed regulatory compliance.
This year as well, CEPA will take a big step forward by committing to conducting a safety culture survey of its entire membership in order to ensure that we focus on the human dynamic that is also so absolutely critical to excellence in performance.
We are actively participating in the development of standards, and these standards, constructed largely by the Canadian Standards Association, apply to our operations throughout the design, construction, operation, and eventual retirement of the pipelines that we have the privilege of stewarding.
The best available technology is absolutely key to the way our industry functions. Through initiatives such as the Canadian Pipeline Technology Collaborative, which is a new initiative being formed, we seek to leverage new technologies through academic institutions and in collaboration with many government partners.
I think it's important to take a look at the commitments that our industry has made in recent times. First, for example, is the mutual emergency assistance agreement, the MEAA, that was first exercised in 2014 and that clearly recognizes in this day and age that any incident of a pipeline company is everybody's incident. This MEAA will seek to harness, and does harness, the resources of all of our members in order to respond in the most effective and immediate manner to any incident that might emerge.
Along with the MEAA, CEPA's members have adopted an incident command system common to all. It reflects interoperability and enhances interoperability among all of our members.
Transparency is absolutely key to earning and sustaining the trust of Canadians. To that end we've undertaken the formulation of a task force that is addressing the common template that will make available to all Canadians every bit of information that we can in order to earn their trust, while withholding only such information that is critical to privacy considerations and the security of critical infrastructure. That information is always made available to all emergency responders.
We've heard the comments by Mr. Blakely about the NEB and we believe strongly that the oversight that we receive from a competent regulator is vital to Canada's national interests. We are well served by having a strong regulator that is capable of providing timely, science-based, and fact-based consideration of our projects.
With that in mind, especially in consideration of the new powers and authorities that the NEB will be adopting through this bill, we believe that it's incredibly important for the NEB to receive the levels of funding and the flexibility of using those funds that are necessary to ensure that it can attract and retain expertise critical to being able to fulfill its mandate.
Our member companies have an exceptional track record with a very low frequency of incidents. They believe strongly in the polluter pays principle and have always ensured appropriate restoration of the environment without any financial consequence borne by the public, including considerations for loss of use. CEPA members are dedicated to the commitment of this obligation through preparedness and response. They will ensure that they fulfill their obligations as reflected in this bill.
Notwithstanding CEPA's strict adherence to the polluter pays principle, and our strong response capabilities, we are supportive of the proposed legislation that sets out liability and compensation requirements for companies operating crude oil pipelines.
As I seek to conclude, Mr. Chair, I would offer the following recommendations for this very positive step forward.
Regulatory requirements that originate from the bill should be risk-based and respond to the proven safety record that the transmission pipeline industry has demonstrated.
The federal government should continue to explore opportunities to support multi-sectoral initiatives, such as the CPTC, which will identify, develop, and implement advanced science and technology. The Canadian Standards Association remains an extremely effective body for the development of standards. We collaborate routinely and press the envelope forward to develop these standards.
We absolutely respect the role of the NEB and believe it to be vital to the good functioning of a highly responsible industry on behalf of Canadians. We believe that the NEB requires the funding that it needs and the flexibility of employing that funding to meet the obligations that you will offer to it through the approval of this bill.
With that, Mr. Chair, I'd like to conclude my comments and thank you for the opportunity to present some comments to you. The Canadian energy pipeline industry is an industry that has a proven, long-standing track record and one that Canadians should be proud of. We look forward to making a continued contribution to the success of our nation for many years to come.