Alberta Tar Sands Blowout Threatens Boreal Forest, Wasn't Disclosed Until ...
Tar sands oil has been spilling in Alberta’s boreal forests for months, and according to a government scientist, neither industry nor government knows how to stop it. Four "oil blowouts" left 34 tons of vegetation covered in oil, dozens of animals dead, and two-foot-high coats of oil on tree trunks.
So far, cleanup efforts have removed 26,000 barrels of bitumen mixed with surface water - at least 4,500 barrels of pure bitumen in total. The impacts on groundwater are unknown.
First reported in the Toronto Star (with photos) and Mother Jones, the information was leaked by a Canadian government scientist who wished to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job.
According to the scientist,
"Everybody (at the company and in government) is freaking out about this. We don’t understand what happened. Nobody really understands how to stop it from leaking, or if they do they haven’t put the measures into place."
The spills are located at Canadian Natural Resources, Ltd.’s Primrose bitumen emulsion site in Cold Lake, Alberta. Two of the underground spills began in May, but the Alberta Energy Regulator kept the information silent for nine weeks. A third spill, reported on June 8, is believed to have been leaking for months. None of the previous three spills were reported to the public until the fourth spill on July 18.