Canadian Press is reporting that a crude oil spill occurred near the Red Deer River in west-central Alberta. The spill is believed to have been in the neighborhood of about 475,000 liters.
Canadian pipeline company Plains Midstream Canada discovered the spill when on Thursday it closed off its network of pipelines in the area. However, executive director of a local community group Tracey McCrimmon said that rural homeowners had first found the oil spill, saying residents were complaining about smelling rotten eggs, which is a sign of stale gas or sour oil. Those calls started at about 8:40pm and within an hour, the source of the odor was found.
The biggest problem with this particular oil spill is that the area in which it occurred had been experiencing some serious rain, so all the waterways are extremely full right now and are moving much quicker as a result. “Certainly anything that is coming out of the pipeline or that did come out of the pipeline is certainly quickly moving downstream. It’s going to be a major environmental concern,” said Bruce Beattie, revee of Mountain View County.
The spill area is in the middle of ranch land, which is sparsely populated, but is home to tons of wildlife and many seasonal anglers and hunters.
Residents are being cautioned not to draw any water from local water sources for the time being. Greenpeace and the Canadian Green Party are livid with this most recent spill. Mike Houdema of Greenpeace wants to stop the approval of all new pipelines until changes and upgrades are made to the existing pipes while Green Party Leader Elizabeth May wants changes to existing laws. “I don’t think we’re paying adequate attention to what happens in real life versus what happens in the fossil fuel wonderland where everything goes wrong,” May stated.
This isn’t the first spill to hit Alberta. Last spring, a pipeline spill of 4.5 million liters occurred around Peace River in a remote area, but crews are still struggling to clean it all up. “Albertans should be extremely concerned that these pipeline spills keep happening and the weak detection systems in place,” Madeline Wilson of the Alberta Wilderness Association said.