BY Nicole Clark
Between 1962 and 2015 there have been 25 pipeline-related incidents in Canada alone.
According to the CBC, the five most prevalent oil spills in recent history happened in 2011, 2012 and 2014. This year, the Husky Energy oil pipeline spilled between 200,000 and 250,000 litres of oil into the North Saskatchewan River.
Those in charge of the Husky Energy pipeline and its cleanup said they took care of the spill within 14 hours of the incident occurring. That is a long time; enough time, in fact, according to thestarphoenix.com, for some oil to travel far downstream and sink into the riverbed. How do these big oil companies plan to fix this issue?
In 2011, roughly 4.5 million litres of crude oil leaked near a First Nations community in Alberta called Little Buffalo. The CBC said the oil contaminated more than three hectares of beaver ponds and muskeg in a densely forested area northeast of Peace River, Alta.
In 2012, both the Red Deer River and Elk Point were victims of their respective pipelines leaking oil into the surrounding area. Red Deer River was subject to almost half a million litres of crude oil spilling into a major connecting creek. Elk Point’s Enbridge pumping station northeast of Edmonton leaked around 230,000 litres of crude oil.
2014 saw two more major pipeline malfunctions resulting in dramatic spills. Slave Lake, which is approximately 250 kilometres north of Edmonton, had 70,000 litres spilled nearby. Red Earth Creek was also a pipeline casualty that same year with 60,000 litres of crude oil leaking. The CBC said low amounts of hydrogen sulphide gas were also detected along with the crude oil.
Aboutpipelines.com said the pipelines provide jobs and prosperity and describes them as “the most practical way to deliver oil and gas from the remote producing regions to our country’s more populated areas” and are “an important industry to Canadians, providing jobs in communities large and small, as well as considerable tax revenues.”
What the website does not express is the turmoil it causes communities and the devastating long-term effects it has upon the environment.
These spills have become a common occurrence, contaminating lakes and rivers and affecting drinking water and air quality.
Many people see no way around the use of pipelines. Only when we’ve depleted our natural resources, seen many species pushed to extinction and created a bleak future for next generations will the industry change its ways.
The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.