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Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:52AM
Toxic oil from a spill on June 1, 2013 in the Canadian province of Alberta

Toxic oil from a spill on June 1, 2013 in the Canadian province of Alberta

A pipeline in Canada has leaked more than 5,000 liters of oil in the province of Alberta, close to where most First Nations residents live, affecting the area’s waters and lands. The Lubicon Lake First Nation said on Sunday that Pennwest Exploration, which operates the pipeline, believes the spill took place a day earlier only 25 kilometers from the First Nations community of Little Bufallo. The affected area is also a proposed area of future reserve lands for the indigenous Canadian population. The company initially estimated that the oil spill affected the surface waters and muskeg lands over 2.5 square kilometers. However, Lubicon Lake said the spill is now thought to be much larger. Lubicon Lake Chief Bernard Ominayak said the safety of the First Nations citizens and their environment is the “primary concern.” Another big concern is how the leaked oil will affect the areas used by hunters and trappers. Pennwest Exploration is trying to control the spill but says that the clean-up efforts are being held back by the mass floods at the company’s head office in Calgary. According to the company, there are no reports yet showing that the recent heavy rain in the area contributed in any way to the oil spill. This latest oil spill came just weeks after a huge spill on June 1 in northern Alberta, which caused 9.5 million liters of toxic waste from oil and gas operation to poison the nearby area. Environmental organizations have long criticized the Canadian government for being slow to notify the public when faults occur within the oil industry. CAH/HSN
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