Three Alberta pipeline spills in less than a month are raising safety concerns about pipelines.
June 7, 2012 Sundre Petroleum Operators Group, a not-for-profit society, notified Plains Midstream Canada of a major leak on the Rainbow Pipeline near Sundre, Alberta. The spill has resulted in up to 475,000 litres of light sour crude oil flowing into Jackson Creek, a tributary of the Red Deer River.
"I would expect that the vast majority of it will end up in the Red Deer River," said Bruce Beattie, Reeve of Mountain View County. "It's a major concern."
The area around Sundre is common getaway area for people in Calgary and popular with anglers and hunters because of the pristine wilderness.
The Rainbow Pipeline also saw one of the largest pipeline spills in the Alberta history - a 4.5 million-litres of oil spill northeast of Peace River, Alberta April 29, 2011. Clean up the April 29, 2011 pipeline spill continues.
May 19, 2012 an estimated 800,000 litres of spilled oil was discovered southeast of Rainbow Lake, 165 km south of the Northwest Territories border. As with many recent pipeline accidents, Calgary-based Pace did not detect a problem, but was informed by another company after the spill was spotted from an aircraft. The spill, which came from above ground piping connecting an underground pipeline now covers 4.3 hectares.
"First Nations need to be informed immediately when such incidents occur and certainly not by media ten days after the fact. Large and uncontrolled oil spills are not rare; this is the second in two years in this region. Muskeg is critical habitat for a range of culturally important species," said National Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo.
May 9. 2012 AltaGas Ltd. confirmed a pipeline rupture resulting in natural gas and light oil leak of approximately 1,600 litres near the Hobbema Alberta, town site of Samson Cree First Nation. The farmer on whose land the leak occurred heard a boom on April 30, 2012. Then on May 8, 2012 his children found the spill coming to the surface.
"If this rupture did occur 10 days ago, why has it taken the company so long to respond?" questioned Greenpeace Canada Climate and Energy Campaigner Mike Hudema.
Alberta is criss-crossed with pipelines, which consolidate oil and gas and bring them to plants that strip away impurities like water.
With numerous planned pipeline extensions, including the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, pipeline failures are likely to increase.
View June 8, 2012 CBC News coverage
View June 8, 2012 Globe and Mail coverage
View June 8, 2012 Sean Kheraj article
View June 8, 2012 CTV News coverage
View June 8, 2012 Financial Post coverage
View June 8, 2012 Calgary Herald coverage
View June 5, 2012 Assembly of First Nations press release
View May 30, 2012 Globe and Mail Coverage
View May 9, 2012 Vancouver Observer article
View May 9, 2012 Edmonton Journal article
View May 9, 2012 Globe and Mail coverage
Globe and Mail, Vancouver Observer, Assembly of First Nations