Tag Archives: alberta

2.5 Million Gallons of Toxic Waste Spill in Northern Alberta

13 Jun

by Nathan Vanderklippe / The Globe And Mail

An Apache Canada drilling rig in the Ladyfern region of B.C. (Apache Canada)

An Apache Canada drilling rig in the Ladyfern region of B.C.
(Apache Canada)

The substance is the inky black colour of oil, and the treetops are brown. Across a broad expanse of northern Alberta muskeg, the landscape is dead. It has been poisoned by a huge spill of 9.5 million litres of toxic waste from an oil and gas operation in northern Alberta, the third major leak in a region whose residents are now questioning whether enough is being done to maintain aging energy infrastructure.

The spill was first spotted on June 1. But not until Wednesday did Houston-based Apache Corp. release estimates of its size, which exceeds all of the major recent spills in North America. It comes amid heightened sensitivity about pipeline safety, as the industry faces broad public opposition to plans for a series of major new oil export pipelines to the U.S., British Columbia and eastern Canada.

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For a Future that Won’t Destroy Life on Earth, Look to the Global Indigenous Uprising

27 May

by Kristine Moe / Yes! Magazine

Melina Laboucan-Massimo stands next to logs from clearcuts at a proposed tar sands site north of Fort McMurray, northern Alberta, Canada. Photo by Jiri Rezac.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo stands next to logs from clearcuts at a proposed tar sands site north of Fort McMurray, northern Alberta, Canada. Photo by Jiri Rezac.

There’s a remote part of northern Alberta where the Lubicon Cree have lived, it is said, since time immemorial. The Cree called the vast, pine-covered region niyanan askiy, “our land.” When white settlers first carved up this country, they made treaties with most of its original inhabitants—but for reasons unclear, the Lubicon Cree were left out. Two hundred years later, the Lubicon’s right to their traditional territory is still unrecognized. In the last four decades, industry has tapped the vast resource wealth that lies deep beneath the pines; today, 2,600 oil and gas wells stretch to the horizon. This is tar sands country. Continue reading

13 Spills in 30 Days

12 Apr

From TckTckTck

Moving oil is a dirty business, and never has that been more clear than this past month. Since March 11, the global oil industry has had 13 spills on three continents. In North and South America alone, they’ve spilled more than a million gallons of oil and toxic chemicals – enough to fill two olympic-sized swimming pools.

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Pipeline in northwest Alberta ruptures

5 Jun

Image from spill in Alberta, May 19, 2012

From Deep Green Resistance News

A huge spill has released 22,000 barrels of oil and water into muskeg in the far northwest of Alberta.

The spill ranks among the largest in North America in recent years, a period that has seen a series of high-profile accidents that have undermined the energy industry’s safety record. The Enbridge Inc. pipeline rupture that leaked oil near Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, for example, spilled an estimated 19,500 barrels.

The most recent spill was discovered May 19 emanating from pipe belonging to Pace Oil & Gas Ltd. , a small energy company that produces about 15,000 barrels a day, roughly half of that oil.

The spill has yet to be contained.

The spill took place roughly 20 kilometres southeast of Rainbow Lake, which is 165 km south of the Northwest Territories border. It came from above-ground piping connecting an underground pipeline to a well used for wastewater injection.

To continue reading, click here.

143 arrested at August 29 tar sands protest in DC

31 Aug

Reposted from Indy Media DC

click here to view the video

August 29th was the 6th anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and barely a day after the departure of Hurricane Irene from DC. Delayed by the storm and hearing nature’s message about climate change from Irene, 143 people were arrested in front of the White House in the opener to the second week of tar sands protests.
This was the largest tar sands protest to date in the two-week series of protests running from August 20 until September 3ed. It was the first of these to involve triple-digit mass arrest totals-and over double the size of most of last week’s protests.

The Saturday protest as the storm approached was changed to a rally no including civil disobediance, and the Sunday protest had to be cancelled. On Monday, however, the tar sands pipeline opponents delivered on their promise of a much larger protest than any yet seen in front of the White House on this issue.

The Keystone XL Pipeline would connect the tar sands oil mining operations in Canada to refineries in Texas. A pipeline to the Canadian coast has been blocked, preventing exports to places like China, but some of the oil gets to the US by existing smaller pipelines. The much larger and dedicated Keystone XL pipeline would create the large export market the destructive tar sands mining project has so far lacked, bringing about a massive expansion of the mining.

The State Department as approved the environmental impact statement of this pipeline but still has to decide if it is in the “national interest.” A decision on that question is expected by December. Since tar sands oil can be anywhere(depending on process and surface vs deep) from 17% to several times as carbon intensive as normal oil, this is in truth a decision about whether or not global climate catastrophe is in the national interest!

Hey Obama-Irene has spoken, did you get her message?

Daryl Hanna Heading to White House Keystone XL Protest

25 Aug

The ongoing protest against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project is picking up momentum, and serious star power. In an exclusive interview, actress and environmental advocate Daryl Hannah told energyNOW! that she’s joining the protest outside the White House.

More than 200 people have been arrested since the protest began on August 20, and sit-ins are planned to run through September 3rd, the day a decision is expected on the proposal from the U.S. State Department. To watch the full interview, click on the video above.

The environmental movement needs to engage in “courageous acts of civil disobedience” to stop projects like the pipeline, said Hannah. Keystone XL would bring oil-sands crude from the Canadian province of Alberta to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast. In the interview, she also likened the importance of environmental protests like this to the Suffragette and Civil Rights movements.

Source: Clean Technica

Keystone XL Pipeline Protest set for site of 2007 Burnaby pipeline rupture ‎

5 Aug


A Vancouver-based environmental group intends to use the Burnaby site of a dramatic oil pipeline rupture four years ago to emphasize its opposition to a planned expansion by Kinder Morgan.

Wilderness Committee (WC) will hold a demonstration on Saturday, Aug. 27 beginning where Hastings Street turns into Inlet Drive. That’s the spot where Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline was ruptured by road construction crews working July 24, 2007. Oil spewed 12 metres in the air flowing downhill toward Burrard Inlet and hitting as many as 100 homes in the area.

The protest is scheduled to coincide with mass civil disobedience planned for Washington, D.C., to protest the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline to carry crude oil from northern Alberta to American refineries.

Along with opposing Keystone XL, WC has set it sights on Kinder Morgan’s plans to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline from the oil sands and its terminal in North Burnaby.

WC says the expansion will mean tankers bigger than the ones now using the dock will be sailing in Burrard Inlet. The current ones, claim the Wilderness Committe, carry more than three times the oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez in Alaska in March 1989.

Sven Biggs, Wilderness Committee outreach director, said the event will start at 2 p.m. with protesters marching down the hill to the gates of Kinger Morgan’s Westridge Terminal.

For the full article go to source of cross-post here

NEW VIDEO… Earth First! Dances on Governor’s Table in Tar Sands Protest

15 Jul

HELENA, Montana—Check out this new short film from the Earth First! occupation of the Montana capitol against the Tar Sands and other industrial energy infrastructure in the Northern Rockies, following the 2011 Round River Rendezvous.

Five people locked down, 20 danced on the governor’s table, 70 people occupied the office, business as usual was disrupted! If you can, please consider donating a bit of money to the arrestee’s legal fund HERE

Note from the filmmaker: “Please pass this along to your friends, groups you work with, and listserves you’re a part of. Let’s build the movement and help put some money in the legal fund for people who put their bodies and freedom on the line!”

Canadian Tar Sands Pipeline Still Opposed by EPA

23 Jun

Landowners, agriculture group keeping up the fight against eminent domain and the Keystone XL pipeline. Is the State Department listening?
By Kate Schwab, 6-23-11

As the third phase of work on the international Keystone XL pipeline looms, the foreign corporation behind the tar sands project is posturing as a handful of landowners in eastern Montana gear themselves up for a fight over land rights.

The $13 billion project comes courtesy of TransCanada, a Canadian firm. It runs approximately 1,711 miles from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the proposed route—1,384 miles of it— is in the United States. The first two phases of the pipeline have already been completed and are fully operational, the company’s website reports. It is supposed to be completed by 2013 and has been in the works for more than three years.

The company says it has already held dozens of meetings for public involvement and points to a Department of Energy study that concluded the pipeline could reduce American dependency on foreign oil from nations outside North America by up to 40 percent. The American Petroleum Institute, which supports the pipeline, also suggested recently that the U.S. could lose the tar sands crude to more cooperative overseas markets if the process continues to be stalled. But the proposed route cuts through a small triangle of northeastern Montana, and locals are not happy about it.

“I’m especially concerned about the safety and emergency preparedness along the route should there be a spill,” landowner Rick Kniepkamp, a resident of Lindsay, Mont., said. Kniepkamp is a member of the Northern Plains Pipeline Landowners Group, an association of affected property owners who have banded together to negotiate environmental and financial issues with TransCanada. Neither he nor any of the other stakeholders contacted by New West responded to requests for further comment.

Kniepkamp has legitimate reason for concern. The finished portion of the pipeline has already experienced several questionable incidents, including leaks in North Dakota and Kansas in May. And in comments released earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency said it is far from satisfied with the U.S. State Department’s current draft analysis of the project’s potential impact. In particular, the EPA objects to the report’s claim that the precise nature of the chemicals used to help bitumen flow through the pipeline should remain “proprietary information.”

The EPA also says that the pipeline could pose a hazard to the Ogallala aquifer, and concluded that the State Department had not pushed hard enough for thorough examination of alternate routes. Also called the High Plains aquifer, it lies below eight states, including Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

Montana landowners are none-too-thrilled with a recent change in state law that directly pertains to the pipeline. Governments, schools and some corporations serving public needs have long possessed the power of eminent domain – essentially, the right to purchase and use any piece of private property, regardless of an owner’s approval. Traditionally, eminent domain was reserved as a last resort for public works purposes, such as getting a road, power line or school built. House Bill 198, which passed in Montana’s 2011 legislative session, redefined eminent domain as the privilege of any company holding a Major Facilities Siting Act (MFSA) certificate. The bill has been heavily criticized as drastically expanding the power of private corporations to take land for nonpublic purposes, despite counter-claims from defenders that it merely reaffirms existing legal precedent.

Count Ed Gulick as one who disputes that defense. The chair of the Northern Plains Resource Council, a nonprofit agricultural advocacy group, Gulick attacked the change in a recent column distributed to Montana newspapers. He said the law was changed because proponents lost a court battle.

Another Canadian company tried to claim eminent domain for a private power line in Montana. Landowners fought back in court; the company lost when a judge found the company did not possess the eminent domain right. Previously, Gulick wrote, state law required companies “to prove that the project is for a public use, is necessary and is compatible with the greatest public good and least private injury. This test helped prevent eminent domain from being abused.” In contrast, he said, holding an MFSA certificat doesn’t offer adequate protection. “MFSA wasn’t written to protect the rights of landowners facing condemnation by a private corporation,” he wrote.

His organization, however, has been busy, hosting meetings with affected landholders. According to a statement from Northern Plains Research Council, the group has been working with Bozeman attorney Hertha Lund, who specializes in agricultural and land rights issues. She could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the Northern Plains Resource Council also declined comment, saying staff were not permitted to speak to the media. A message left for a second staff member was not returned.

In February, a U.S. Department of Energy study concluded that the Keystone XL pipeline was not presently needed. In March, the State Department announced its intent to subject the project to new study. Notice was published in the Federal Register in April, with a new 45-day public comment window.

That window is now closed. The State Department is expected to release a completed environmental impact statement and make a final decision on the fate of the pipeline by the end of the year.

Kate Schwab is an intern for New West.

News source here

Editors note: EF!ers and allies in the struggle against the tar sands are invited to this years Summer Rendezvous which will take place in the Lolo National Forest along Hyw. 12 and will focus on building opposition to Exxon’s proposed tar sands corridor. From July 5th through the 12th we will gather in the Northern Rockies (Idaho, Montana) to unite minds, spirits and forces in order to prevent the Rockies from becoming a devastated landscape… For more information you should contact nref@rocketmail.com and/or visit northernrockiesrisingtide.wordpress.com

Native Americans gather in Portland to protest oil sands shipments

21 Mar

By Kelly House, The Oregonian

Members of the Grande Ronde and Warm Springs tribes gathered Sunday to sing and pray at Kelly Point Park in North Portland, chosen for its location at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. The group of about 20 Native Americans and environmental activists were protesting the shipment of equipment upriver to support an oil project in Alberta, Canada.

An ancient Native American song emanated Sunday from the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers.


Five drummers rhythmically pounded on a ceremonial drum while spectators passed around a seashell filled with smoking prayer leaves. “Ya-hey-ya-hey-ha,” lead drummer James Thinn chanted above the other singers, a traditional warrior’s chant.

The group’s enemies, Thinn said, are oil-factory modules moving up the Columbia River, across the states of Idaho and Montana, and into Canada’s oil sands, where Imperial Oil, a subsidiary of Exxon-Mobil, will assemble the 207 massive components into in an $8 billion oil operation. Imperial plans to strip mine tarlike bitumen from the ground and convert it into petroleum through a complicated, energy-consumptive process.

The Native American ceremony was an act of protest against the Imperial megaloads and all they represent – scarring of the landscape, the threat of pollution, destruction of salmon-rich rivers and the loss of a way of life. The gathering at Kelley Point Park was the first known organized protest of the megaloads in the Portland area, although protests have raged for months in Montana and Idaho, where tribal leaders held a similar event Sunday.

Shayleen Macy, 25, helped organize Sunday’s protest with two fellow Native American activists, Kayla Godowa and Delia Sanchez, 24. They call themselves Indigenous People for Sustainable Lifestyles.

Although the trio is based in Eugene, they chose Portland for their protest because of the Columbia’s significance to Native American culture.

“It’s ancestral water of all different Chinook tribes,” Macy said. “We want to protect this river and help other people protect their indigenous homelands.
The tribes have treaty rights to fish the river, but tribe members say the salmon catch is dwindling every year. They blame flow-altering dams that allow boats to travel the river — including the barges that carry the oil-factory modules from Vancouver to Lewiston, Idaho, where they will be hauled by land to the Imperial operation amid Canada’s boreal forest.

“We don’t want this river to be used to help them destroy that forest,” Macy said.

Trish Weber, founder of All Against the Haul, said activists’ reasons for opposing the shipments are many.

Some worry the loads could veer off the narrow roads of U.S. 12 and fall into the river, affecting its natural flow for months. Others don’t want to see the factory built. Some are against the Keystone XL pipeline that would transport the petroleum from Canada to Texas. Many just don’t want the scenic highway turned into a shipping corridor for the Canadian oil industry.

But until now, the activism has been concentrated in Idaho and Montana.

“I think we’re going to start seeing a lot more action here in Oregon,” said Weber, who attended the protest.

Several members of environmental group Portland Rising Tide were at Sunday’s protest, joining the tribe members in opposition to the hauls. They’re planning two more anti-haul demonstrations on Wednesday and in April, said group member Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky, 24.

The National Wildlife Federation has also begun pushing the oil sands issue in Oregon. Mike O’Leary, Oregon organizer for the federation, said the group is asking political leaders to join a campaign aimed at buying petroleum that isn’t sourced from the oil sands.

Still, O’Leary said, the controversy is “very much off the radar” for most Oregonians.

“If you ask the average Prius-driving American about the tar sands, they don’t know,” he said.

As barges carrying industrial cargo passed in the distance Sunday, about 20 protesters stood on the banks of the Columbia and Willamette rivers and started a new chant — this one a traditional Multnomah Chinook blessing. Each protester held a small mound of tobacco as an offering to the sacred waters.

“We’ve always been affected by what’s going on in this river,” Delia Sanchez said. “We’re trying to unite against this.”

See a video of the protest here.