06/13/2013 11:20 EDT | Updated 06/14/2013 05:39 EDT

Kinder Morgan's TransMountain Pipeline Spills Near Merritt

Trans Mountain

Kinder Morgan's TransMountain Pipeline has spilled near the town of Merritt in B.C.'s Interior region, although the size of the spill has yet to be determined, the National Energy Board says.

The board said in a Thursday news release that there is no safety concerns for nearby residents.

UPDATE: The Kinder Morgan spill is contained after about 12 barrels leaked out of the pipeline near Merritt, The Globe and Mail reports. The oil spilled while the company was doing maintenance work and turned off the pipeline when the leak was discovered. Repairs are now under way.

News release from the National Energy Board:

CALGARY - The National Energy Board (NEB or Board) is responding to a crude oil release on the TransMountain Pipeline southwest of Merritt, BC owned and operated by Kinder Morgan Canada. The size of the spill has yet to be determined by the NEB. There is no immediate safety concern for local residents and precautions are being taken to ensure continued public safety.

The NEB received an incident report late yesterday afternoon. The release is located on crown land along the pipeline right-of-way (a map of the area is included below for reference). The pipeline has been shut down to prevent additional oil from being released into the environment and the company is currently in the process of contacting area residents.

The NEB’s Emergency Response Team has been deployed and will be onsite to monitor and assess the companies’ immediate response, investigation and clean up. Representatives from the affected company are also onsite along with local first responders.

In an emergency, the Board works with federal, provincial and territorial partners to coordinate the regulatory response. The NEB’s priority in any emergency is to make sure that people are safe and the environment is protected.

The National Energy Board holds regulated companies fully responsible and accountable for responding in a manner that protects the public, property and the environment. This includes clean-up and site remediation. The Board’s long-term goal with any incident is the full restoration and re-vegetation of the site including any potential effects on sub-surface groundwater. We do not relax our expectations of a company, or our response, regardless of the size of the incident.

Planned expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline became a key issue during the recent B.C. election. NDP leader Adrian Dix came out against an expansion of the pipeline. Many saw Dix's stance as a flip-flop and pundits said it may have hurt the NDP leader.

The company had sought to add 981 kilometres of new buried pipeline and increase its oil transport capacity by 590,000 barrels per day. Opponents said that the pipeline, which ends in the Lower Mainland, would lead to an increase in tanker traffic and a greater likelihood of oil spills off the B.C. coast.

More to come

Also on HuffPost

The Oil Sands and Canada's Environment