Spill calls for pipeline review 0
Alberta is once again in the news and once again, it's for all the wrong reasons.
Thursday night's oil spill near Sundre has put the province squarely in the sights of those concerned about the environment and the governing Tories coziness with the industry. Coming at a time when pipeline development is under the microscope and the feds appear ready to squash any opposition seems almost karma-like in its coincidence.
Plains Midstream Canada estimates between 1,000 and 3,000 barrels of oil spilled into the Red Deer River on Thursday, a number that surely could've been much worse but for a few strokes of luck.
However, as cleanup efforts continue and pictures of tar-covered fish float into view, critics call for enquiries into how it happened and the longer-term impacts.
With debate surrounding the Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines currently underway, Canadians need to know future spills will be prevented.
It's not enough to hear politicians say spills are rare, or the impacts minimal. It's not enough to say regulations are in place.
With about 400,000 kilometres of pipelines snaking across Alberta both above and below ground, spills can and do happen.
In 2010 there were 687 failures, the majority of them leaks. Corrosion, construction damage and decades-old pipes are often the main culprits.
With the numbers of pipelines poised to increase dramatically over the next few years, this spill is the latest in a worrisome trend that should trigger an independent review into the state of all Alberta's pipelines.