‘My place is destroyed’: Albertan in wake of Red Deer River oil spill

‘My place is destroyed’: Albertan in wake of Red Deer River oil spill by Nathan Vanderklippe and Dawn Walton, June 8, 2012, Sundre, Alberta and Calgary, The Globe and Mail
The oil, some 1,000 to 3,000 barrels of which spilled from a pipeline owned by Plains Midstream Canada, stretched nearly 10 kilometres up-river from Mr. Johnston’s 57 acres on the Red Deer River. As they flew in the helicopter, the source of the leak was obvious: “You could see it boiling up where the line crossing was,” Mr. Johnston said. The oil was surging up into the river from below, where a pipeline owned by Plains Midstream Canada ran. That company, in an early press release, said the oil leaked into a creek leading into the river. Mr. Johnston saw differently. It was leaking from underneath the river itself. In the following hours, he and his wife Bonnie would also see an oil-stained young beaver, a dead oil-covered whitefish and mats of grass and debris and brush and tree root covered in oil from the flooding river. As they battled headaches and nausea, and prepared to leave for a hotel — no oil company had yet contacted them to offer accommodations — they also faced a heartbreaking question: are their decades on the Red Deer over? “How do you clean that up?” Mr. Johnston said, as he drove a reporter through his property, large portions of which are now stained with oil. … The ERCB said in a statement it is investigating and working with the company as well as provincial government officials to clean up the mess and prevent more oil from leaking.


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