Pipeline Spies 230,000 Litres of Oil Near Elk Point
This past Monday marked the third large oil spill in Alberta in the past month, with Enbridgeâ€™s pipeline near Elk Point spilling approximately 230,000 litres of heavy crude oil, partially onto farmland.
According to the Energy Resources Conservation Board, which regulates Albertaâ€™s oil and gas industries, the spill occurred at a pumping station on the Athabasca pipeline, approximately 24km SE of Elk Point.
As a result of the spill, the pipeline was shut in, with the pumping station isolated. Cleanup is already underway, and unlike a recent spill near Red Deer, which is approximately twice the size, no waterways were impacted.
Enbridge was authorized by regulators to reopen the pipeline by late Tueday evening.
Although the spill is not expected to have any major effects on the area, it has prompted calls for an integrity review of the provinceâ€™s pipeline network by environmental organizations.
The latest spill could create further challenges for Enbridgeâ€™s proposed Northern Gateway project, which would see a pipeline built from Bruderheim to Kitimat, B.C.
That project, which would see a pipeline built through some extremely sensitive ecological areas in B.C., is being strongly opposed by first nations and environmental groups.
The B.C. NDP, which appears poised to form government in B.C.â€™s election next May, also opposes the project: â€śUnder the Enbridge proposal, British Columbia would assume almost all the projectâ€™s risk, yet would see only a fraction of the benefits,â€ť said BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix, in April.
â€śBy any measure, such a high-risk, low-return approach simply isnâ€™t in B.C.â€™s interests,â€ť he continued.
Dix has also been critical of the B.C. Premier Christy Clark apparently not taking a position on the Northern Gateway project before the completion of regulatory reviews: â€śThe time to take a position is now,â€ť he concluded.