In the last 6 weeks there have been 3 major oils spills in Alberta and environmental groups are pointing the finger at the Canadian government, suggesting that tighter regulations are required as the pipeline ages.
The most recent spill happened near the town of Elk Point and around 230,000 litres of oil was lost at Enbridge’s Athabasca pipeline. This follows on from the largest spill which occurred earlier this month when a spill in the region of 475,000 litres of oil leaked from pipelines near Red Deer and Sundre. Some of the oil got into the Red Deer River. “Keeping track of all of these is getting harder and harder,” said Don Bester, of the landowners’ lobby association Alberta Surface Rights Group, which has about 1,400 members. “It doesn’t matter what the number of litres are. It’s critical to get these pipelines out of the water system.” According to Greenpeace spokesman Mike Hudema, 3 serious spills in Alberta in a 6 week period is not unusual. “We have over 300 spills a year and it’s due to the aging pipeline infrastructure. That’s why the government should appoint an independent body. There are obviously huge problems with oversight and we’re leaving too much to companies to regulate and enforce themselves,” he said Wednesday.
Very often we do not hear of these accidents but they are causing great damage to our environment and the oil companies as well as governments have a duty to ensure that the risk of accidents and spill are minimized as much as possible. It is easy to be complacent however and it is in all our interests to look after our environment and whether oil is sourced from land or ocean based oil wells. We have all become so dependent on oil for many diverse aspects of our lives that we are all responsible for these spills. It is important that we all view oil as a precious resource and treat it with due care and attention.