Oil spill leaves questions unanswered

An oil spill in northern Alberta has left provincial government officials concerned and calling the incident ‘unacceptable’.

An oil spill in northern Alberta has left provincial government officials concerned and calling the incident ‘unacceptable’.

Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd and Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips joined First Nations officials and members of the Alberta Energy Regulator last Friday to comment about the Nexen Energy pipeline spill after viewing the site southeast of Fort McMurray.

Officials estimate around five million litres of bitumen, water and sand leaked from a pipeline sometime in the past month. Nexen publically apologized for the incident early last week, but the government has more questions about spill response times and pipeline security.

“Spills like this are unacceptable,” said McCuaig-Boyd. “As the Minister of Energy, I’m concerned. As an Albertan, I’m concerned. We all want to know that when an incident like this happens, not only is it contained and cleaned up, but every possible effort is made to find out what went wrong and fix it; prevent it from happening again here or anywhere else in Alberta.”

McCuaig-Boyd said Albertans have made it clear the development of resources must be done in a responsible and sustainable manner.

The provincial government noted First Nations groups also need to be considered partners in emergencies like oil spills and more work should be done to remedy communication gaps.

“Since the discovery of the spill, we have been in close contact with the company through the regulator and we have confidence the regulator is doing its job to conduct a timely and thorough investigation,” said McCuaig-Boyd.

Many are working hard to clean up the site and protect the wildlife caught in the impact zone. An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the spill, the response manner and security. A public report will be issued in the coming months.

Environmentalists are sounding an alarm about not only the damage to the environment due to the spill, but also about the response time and Nexen’s lack of confirmation about precisely when the pipeline began leaking.

Nexen officials said they believe the leak occurred within a two-week window between June 29th, when crews completed a cleaning, and July 15th when a contractor discovered and reported the spill.

Greenpeace Canada’s climate and energy team said they are stunned the spill went undetected for an extended and undetermined time period.

“It’s shocking to learn that the pipeline may have been spilling for two weeks before it was discovered,” said Mike Hudema of the activist group. “Warning bells should be going off for Canada’s premiers right now about the dangers they are brining to their communities if new pipelines are built.”

If this incident doesn’t resonate with the public and initiate a call to action for a change in legislation and environmental penalties, nothing will.

Just Posted

Lacombe resident recalls growing up during Second World War in Britain

Sylvia Gillespie will be speaking at the LMC on Thursday

Lacombe’s Cow Patti Theatre donates over $27,000 to local charities

Cow Patti has raised over $500,000 since 1997

Blackfalds RCMP seeking information on activities of stolen Fountain Tire Truck

Blackfalds RCMP recovered truck following earlier collision and car-jacking

MNP Canada Games Torch Relay coming to Lacombe

Torchbearers will carry the torch on a 4.64 km loop around Cranna Lake

Blackfalds RCMP on scene of school bus collision and car jacking

RCMP are looking for a silver 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander with Alberta license plate BNR655

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Eckville man charged with making child pornography

ICE Unit arrested the man on Jan. 10, he was again arrested by Sylvan Lake RCMP on Jan. 18

New food guide addresses ‘elephant’ in the room – alcohol

Experts welcomed the tougher stance on an issue they say demands a co-ordinated strategy

Cannabis sales up 25% in November as overall retail sales fall 0.9%

Cannabis store sales totalled $54 million in the first full month of legal recreational pot sales

Red Deer RCMP arrest eight in stolen vehicle operation

During the project, six stolen vehicles were located and recovered

$20K pay gap between women, men in Canadian tech jobs

The report defines tech workers as people either producing or making extensive use of technology, regardless of industry

Catholic student says he didn’t disrespect Native American

Many saw the white teenagers, who had travelled to Washington for an anti-abortion rally, appearing to mock the Native Americans

Top Canadian athletes inducted into the Canada Games Hall of Honour

Athletes doing incredible things for communities are inducted into Hall of Honour, says Games CEO

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Most Read