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Emergency crews are cleaning up a massive oil spill from a leaky pipeline northeast of Peace River in northern Alberta.
Energy regulators say 28,000 barrels of oil has oozed into the soil and collected into pools along hundreds of metres of the pipeline's right-of-way.
The leak happened Friday and the pipeline was shut down, but officials say they didn't know the extent of the mess until now.
No one was injured in the incident. At least four beavers and 10 waterfowl were euthanized after they were found covered in oil over the weekend, according to Trevor Gemmell from Alberta Environment.
"There was a small pond that was affected," said Gemmell
Alberta New Democrat environment critic Rachel Notley wondered why the problem took so long to come to light. She pointed out that while the leak was discovered and the school closed on Friday, it wasn't until Tuesday that the extent of the leak was disclosed.
At first it was estimated that a few hundred barrels had leaked. Notley suggested that was underplayed to avoid raising an environmental issue for the federal Conservatives before Monday's federal election.
"Either they're grossly incompetent or there's political interference."
In 2009, Alberta hit a low for pipeline failures of 1.7 leaks for every 1,000 kilometres of pipe. Alberta has more than 377,000 kilometres of pipeline.