Photos provided by a government scientist show the site of an oil spill in Cold Lake, Alta. The company that runs the operation says it is effectively managing the cleanup.
'Unstoppable' underground tar sands leak on Canadian military weapons facility: This is a great piece of investigative journalism from Emma Pullman and Martin Lukacs for The Toronto Star. A government scientist leaked documents to help the word get out, and the spill has been going on for well over 6 weeks.
"Oil spills at a major oil sands operation in Alberta have been ongoing for at least six weeks and have cast doubts on the safety of underground extraction methods, according to documents obtained by the Star and a government scientist who has been on site.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. has been unable to stop an underground oil blowout that has killed numerous animals and contaminated a lake, forest, and muskeg at its operations in Cold Lake, Alta.
The documents indicate that, since cleanup started in May, some 26,000 barrels of bitumen mixed with surface water have been removed, including more than 4,500 barrels of bitumen.
The scientist said Canadian Natural Resources is not disclosing the scope of spills in four separate sites, which have been off bounds to media and the public because the operations are on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, where there is active weapons testing by the Canadian military."
The scientist also said that "Nobody really understands how to stop it from leaking, or if they do they haven’t put the measures into place.”
Also, the Cold Lake operations are located on the traditional territory of the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation, and they are pursuing a constitutional challenge arguing that "cumulative impacts of oil sands industrial development are infringing their treaty rights to hunt, fish and trap." The First Nation also has graves located along the lake affected by the spill, and they are not being permitted to access the area.