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The Alberta Energy Regulator says close to 60,000 litres of crude oil have spilled into muskeg in the province's north.
An incident report by the regulator states that a mechanical failure was reported Thursday at a Canadian Natural Resources Limited pipeline approximately 27 kilometres north of Red Earth Creek. Red Earth Creek is over 350 kilometres northwest of Edmonton
The report says there are no reports of impact to wildlife and that a cleanup has begun. Carrie Rosa, a spokeswoman for the regulator, says officials have been delayed reaching the scene due to poor weather in the last few days.
No one from Canadian Natural Resources could be reached on Saturday for comment.
Underground oil spills at an Alberta oilsands operation have been going on much longer than previously thought, according to new documents. Files released to the Toronto Star show the spills were discovered nine weeks ago, but new documents show that bitumen has been leaking since the winter.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. operates the Primrose oilsands facility three hours northeast of Edmonton where four ongoing underground oil blowouts have contaminated forest, muskeg, a lake and have already killed dozens animals including beavers, ducks and birds. According to a government scientist who has been to the site, neither government or industry are able to stop the spills.
An engineering field visit conducted by CNRL in June to examine impacts from one of the four spills show oil staining over two feet up the trunks of trees, and some completely coated in oil. And based on winter snow coverage, CNRL itself estimates that oil has been leaking for over four months.
The first two underground spills began on May 20 and according to an incident report filed by CNRL, the oil plume was about 200-feet long. The third incident was reported on June 8, but documents suggest the oil has been leaking for months longer.
The Alberta Energy Regulator first put out its first press release about any of the spills on June 27 in response to a fourth spill at Primrose South over a body of water. It was not until July 18 that the Regulator reported all four spills, nine weeks after the first spill was reported. Then the Alberta Energy Regulator was asked why it failed to notify the public following the first three spills, AER spokesman Bob Curran said, “The first three incidents were quite small compared to this last one. There were no public impacts, there were negligible environmental impacts. No real trigger to put out a news release.”
This contradicts the Energy Resources Conservation Board (now the AER) who ordered CNRL to “immediately suspend steam injection operations at Primrose East” on June 14, “given the potential environmental risks” of the first three spills.
Ottawa is giving the National Energy Board power to take control of oil-spill cleanups and says pipeline companies must set aside $1-billion to cover costs of a major rupture regardless of fault. Mr. Rickford insisted the measures were not linked to any specific project, But they include widening companies’ financial liability on projects approved by regulators to $1-billion, regardless of whether a pipeline operator is at fault. The government is also giving the federal energy regulator authority to order reimbursement of any cleanup costs incurred by governments, communities or individuals. The regulator will also obtain new powers to take control of incident response, if necessary.
The announcement follows new rules introduced this week to strengthen oil tanker safety, including removing legal barriers on the use of chemical dispersants to clean up spills and eliminating the per-accident liability limit of a fund used to pay compensation for claims.
Enbridge’s Gateway would send up to 525,000 barrels a day of oil sands-derived bitumen to the West Coast if it gets built. A federal panel approved the project last year with 209 conditions, including a provision to set aside nearly $1-billion in liability coverage to cover costs of a potential spill.
Rival Kinder Morgan said Wednesday it holds general liability coverage of $750-million, including $150-million that covers all of the company’s assets in Canada.
Alberta’s had an average of two crude oil spills a day, every day for the past 37 years. That makes 28,666 crude oil spills in total, plus another 31,453 spills of just about any other substance you can think of putting in a pipeline – from salt water to liquid petroleum.
originally posted by: Sabiduria
a reply to: intrepid
It doesn't matter if oil is being spilled into the environment from pipelines, trail derailments or big oil tankers, it's bad for the environment period.
Again, the bottom line is we don't need more pipelines.
originally posted by: TKDRL
For the most part, it's people that live in the areas that oppose pipelines. If the pipeline was rerouted to go through the big cities, I am sure all the city slickers that think it's no big deal would be OK with that, right?
... Writing in the journal Science, the researchers report they also found the microbes were actively degrading oil in the asphalt, suggesting a similar phenomenon could be used to clean up oil spills.