Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Third Alberta Oil Spill in One Month—Totaling 26,450 Barrels

Energy
Third Alberta Oil Spill in One Month—Totaling 26,450 Barrels

EcoWatch

To borrow a popular hockey term, Canada has scored a hat trick of the worst kind: Three major oil spills in just over one month.

The culprit this time around is Enbridge, the Calgary, Alberta-based operator of the world's longest crude oil and liquids pipeline system, situated in Canada and the U.S. On June 19 the company confirmed that about 1,450 barrels (230,000 litres) of crude oil spilled from a pumping station onto farmland near Elk Point, Alberta, according to The Globe and Mail. Fortunately, this spill managed to occur in an area devoid of waterways.

Others haven't been so lucky.

On June 7, Albertans living downstream from the Red Deer River suffered a scare when a pipeline owned by Plains Midstream Canada ruptured, spewing around 3,000 barrels of oil and posing a severe risk to the drinking water supply of 100,000 people, according to CBC News—Calgary. This spill began beneath Jackson Creek, a tributary of the Red Deer River, ending in Gleniffer Lake and reservoir where the majority of clean-up efforts and monitoring continue to take place.

According to Canada.com, the "province is still advising people not to draw water directly from the river or lake, and it’s telling people not to swim or fish in the lake, either."

Topping them all is Pace Oil and Gas Ltd., which spilled an estimated 22,000 barrels of oil mixed with water near Rainbow Lake, in the northwestern corner of Alberta, according to Bloomberg.

Because of its remote location, the Pace Oil and Gas spill managed to stay relatively quiet despite being one of the largest and most calamitous oil spills in North America in recent years. The spill released more oil into the environment than the much higher profile Kalamazoo River spill almost two years ago in Michigan, compliments of—yet again—Enbridge, that pumped around 19,500 barrels into the Kalamzoo and surrounding marshes.

The latest Enbridge oil spill near Elk Point is one more to a tally exceeding 800 spills since 1999, and this is the corporation lobbying to build the massive Northern Gateway Pipeline stretching from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia—crossing the Northern Rocky Mountains and innumerable streams, marshes and vital wildlife habitat.

Will we ever learn from this ongoing train wreck? If history is any indication—and it always is—the answer is probably not. Here in the U.S., we still suffer the relentless indignities of elected officials and company men assuring us that projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline pose no risk to the millions who depend upon the Ogallala aquifer for drinking water.

Perhaps a trip north to Gleniffer Lake might put things in perspective, or a trip to our own southern shores along the Gulf of Mexico. But clearly, this debate isn't about logic or learning from our mistakes at all.

Visit EcoWatch's KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.

 

By Frank La Sorte and Kyle Horton

Millions of birds travel between their breeding and wintering grounds during spring and autumn migration, creating one of the greatest spectacles of the natural world. These journeys often span incredible distances. For example, the Blackpoll warbler, which weighs less than half an ounce, may travel up to 1,500 miles between its nesting grounds in Canada and its wintering grounds in the Caribbean and South America.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Kevin Maillefer / Unsplash

By Lynne Peeples

Editor's note: This story is part of a nine-month investigation of drinking water contamination across the U.S. The series is supported by funding from the Park Foundation and Water Foundation. Read the launch story, "Thirsting for Solutions," here.

In late September 2020, officials in Wrangell, Alaska, warned residents who were elderly, pregnant or had health problems to avoid drinking the city's tap water — unless they could filter it on their own.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Eat Just's cell-based chicken nugget is now served at Singapore restaurant 1880. Eat Just, Inc.

At a time of impending global food scarcity, cell-based meats and seafood have been heralded as the future of food.

Read More Show Less
New Zealand sea lions are an endangered species and one of the rarest species of sea lions in the world. Art Wolfe / Photodisc / Getty Images

One city in New Zealand knows what its priorities are.

Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand's South Island, has closed a popular road to protect a mother sea lion and her pup, The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less

piyaset / iStock / Getty Images Plus

In an alarming new study, scientists found that climate change is already harming children's diets.

Read More Show Less