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Canada oil pipeline spills 200,000 litres on native land

23 January 2017

A pipeline in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan has leaked 200,000 litres (52,834 gallons) of oil in a first nation community, the provincial government said on Monday. The government was notified late in the afternoon on Friday, and 170,000 litres have since been recovered according to the Ministry of the Economy, which regulates pipelines in Saskatchewan.

Stock image
Stock image

Oil pipelines are viewed by the oil-rich provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan as a critical lifeline to move crude to the coast, but they have drawn fierce opposition from environmental and indigenous groups.

The spill came seven months after another major incident in Saskatchewan, in which a Husky Energy Inc pipeline leaked 225,000 litres into a major river and cut off the drinking water supply for two cities.

It was not immediately clear how the current incident happened or which company owns the underground pipeline that leaked the oil.

McKnight said Tundra Energy Marketing Inc, which has a pipeline adjacent to the spill, is leading cleanup efforts.

"There are a number of pipes in the area," he told reporters in Regina. "Until we excavate it, we won't know with 100-percent certainty which pipe."

Tundra, a privately held unit of Canadian grain trading and energy conglomerate James Richardson and Sons Ltd, released a statement saying it is cooperating with all levels of government and will ensure "the affected land is restored appropriately."

The incident happened in the lands of the Ocean Man First Nation 140 km (87 miles) southeast of the provincial capital of Regina, according to the province.

McKnight said the spill has been contained in the low-lying area in which it was discovered. Ocean Man Chief Connie Big Eagle said an area resident who had smelled the scent of oil for a week located the spill and alerted her on January 20. The chief said there are no homes near the spill.


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