As people push for the Keystone XL pipeline to be built over some of our most important and scenic lands.
As the Obama administration’s decision regarding whether to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline draws nearer, the latest disaster is raising serious concerns about the safety of Canada’s rapidly expanding pipeline network.
A massive toxic waste spill from an oil and gas operation in northern Alberta is being called one of the largest recent environmental disasters in North America. First reported on June 1, the Texas-based Apache Corp. didn’t reveal the size of the spill until June 12, which is said to cover more than 1,000 acres.
Members of the Dene Tha First Nation tribe are outraged that it took several days before they were informed that 9.5 million liters of salt and heavy-metal-laced wastewater had leaked onto wetlands they use for hunting and trapping.
“Every plant and tree died” in the area touched by the spill, said James Ahnassay, chief of the Dene Tha.
As the Globe and Mail reports, the Apache disaster is not an anomaly:
The leak follows a pair of other major spills in the region, including 800,000 litres of an oil-water mixture from Pace Oil and Gas Ltd., and nearly 3.5 million litres of oil from a pipeline run by Plains Midstream Canada.
After those accidents, the Dene Tha had asked the Energy Resources Conservation Board, Alberta’s energy regulator, to require installation of pressure and volume monitors, as well as emergency shutoff devices, on aging oil and gas infrastructure. The Apache spill has renewed calls for change.
Also of note…
A recent Global News investigation found that over the past 37 years, Alberta’s extensive network of pipelines has experienced 28,666 crude oil spills in total, plus another 31,453 spills of a variety of other liquids used in oil and gas production — from salt water to liquid petroleum. That averages out to two crude oil spills a day, every day.
In a sane world, we’d do something about the slow poisoning of our land. But in a world where money trumps conservation, we should probably just stock up on hazmat suits.