Sunday, July 19, 2015

First Nation concerned Nexen oil pipeline spill highlights dangers of poorly regulated industry and violations of Treaty

July 17, 2015 – Fort McMurray, AB – On Wednesday of this week Fort McMurray’s oil sands hit a new milestone, it is now home to the largest oil spill in Canadian history.  The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) is concerned that without addressing the current poor environmental standards coupled with increasing development in the region will only result in more spills and incidents. These types of incidents are seen as leading causes of degradation of the environment and ultimately the rights and title of First Nations in the region.
Nexen’s Long Lake oil sands project experienced a spill resulting in 5 million litres, the largest recorded spill in Canadian history, of toxic water, bitumen and sand to flow directly into the surrounding eco-systems.  At present both the Alberta Energy Regulator and Nexen are stating the spill did not enter into the water system but did flow into a large area of muskeg.

“A spill this size into the Muskeg, which is an important part of the eco-system in the region and house many of our medicines, berries and habitat for species our people rely on for sustenance, is extremely serious,” stated Chief Allan Adam of the ACFN.

“The muskeg are a part of the basin and feed into the groundwater system, the location of the spill is dangerously close to the Clearwater River that flows directly into the Athabasca River.  The repercussions from the incident could potentially be felt far and wide by those that rely on the Athabasca Basin,” stated Adam.

In 2011, Plains Midstream pipeline spilled 4.5 million liters of oil sands into the muskeg near the community of Little Buffalo where reclamation is still incomplete.


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