Tar Sands Crude Spill in Alberta Leaves Albertans in Toxic Wake Again

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Common Dreams

Tar Sands Crude Spill in Alberta Leaves Albertans in Toxic Wake Again

Second oil spill in two weeks for Canadian province

by
Common Dreams staff

Alberta's second oil spill in two weeks casts further doubts on the safety of tar sands.

March Point, WA, USA

On Monday 230,000 liters of tar sands crude spilled at a pumping station near Elk Point, Alberta along Enbridge's Athabasca pipeline, causing the pipeline to shut down temporarily.

The province's Energy Resources Conservation Board spokesperson Darin Barter said, "It's a significant size spill." And highlighting the problems of immediate action in the aftermath of an oil spill, Barter said he only found out about the spill from media reports, and added, "I don't think anybody in the county, at this point, has been notified," he said.

Greenpeace spokesperson Mike Hudema said of the news, "Once again Albertans are left to deal with the toxic effects of yet another pipeline spill in Alberta." Noting this is not the first oil spill to hit Albertans, Hudema added, "How many spills does it take before Alberta Premier Alison Redford does something to protect our water and all our communities?

Enbridge is currently attempting to build it Northern Gateway pipeline to carry tar sands crude from Ft. Murray, Alberta to the Pacific coast, a plan contested by indigenous and conservation groups.

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The Edmonton Journal: Elk Point pipeline spill releases 230,000 litres of heavy crude: Enbridge

EDMONTON - Cleanup is underway after an oil spill Monday along Enbridge’s Athabasca pipeline, southeast of Elk Point, the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board says.

The company estimates about 230,000 litres of heavy crude oil spilled from a pumping station along the surface pipeline about 24 kilometres southeast of Elk Point, the board said Tuesday.

The spill was reported to the appropriate agencies on Monday, said ERCB spokesman Darin Barter. [...]

Greenpeace spokesman Mike Hudema said in a statement the spill underscores the need for a safety assessment of Alberta’s pipelines.

“At minimum we need an independent assessment of Alberta’s pipeline safety to show the deficits in management, oversight, enforcement and infrastructure.”

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CBC News: Officials investigate another Alberta pipeline leak

Earlier this month the oil company Plains Midstream Canada announced that 475,000 litres of oil had spilled into Alberta's Red Deer River and a water reservoir downstream of the leak.

And in May, Calgary-based Pace Oil and Gas announced a spill after it was spotted during a flyover in a remote muskeg area of northwestern Alberta, about 20 kilometres southeast of Rainbow Lake.

The spill affected an area about 500 metres long by 200 metres wide, said Fred Woods, president and CEO of Pace Oil and Gas Ltd.

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