Give us facts on Alberta oil spill, locals demand

Give us facts on Alberta oil spill, locals demand by Shelley Youngblut, June 10, 2012, The Globe and Mail
“People are tired of hearing platitudes,” said Bruce Beattie, the reeve of Mountain View County, one of the affected communities. “Tell us the facts. Don’t try to make a political event out of it.” … There have been conflicting reports, for example, about the location of the original break, which was on the north side of Sundre, Alta., and left 40 kilometres of riverbanks and poplar bush covered in oil, which will likely be far more difficult – and expensive – to remove than the higher-profile slick on the reservoir. The Alberta government’s regulatory agency, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), should be supplying the answers, but some residents of rural Alberta are skeptical of its efforts. “The oil and gas industry is embedded in our politicians and the politicians control the ERCB,” said Don Bester, president of the Alberta Surface Rights [Group], which represents 1,400 landowners in the province…. “We’re thankful we have an oil-and-gas industry that gives us the lifestyle we enjoy, but that doesn’t mean we have to be hard on the environment,” said Paddy Munro, one of Mr. Bester’s members and a councillor for the county just east of the spill. … Neither Mr. Bester nor Mr. Munro are convinced the solution is to wait for the province to carry out another investigation. “We’ve already got some great regulations,” Mr. Munro said. “We just have some poor regulators.”

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