Leak at tar sands plant fouls Athabasca River
Suncor Energy is one of Canada's top tar-sands oil producers and a big pusher for the Keystone XL Pipeline (see Globe & Mail, Oct. 25, 2011). They are, of course, key players in the continental NAFTA shadow government. So why are we reading about their contamination of the Athabasca River in the Edmonton Journal (March 26) and not the New York goddam Times? Just asking.
Tainted water poured for hours before broken Suncor pipe sealed
EDMONTON — A waste-water pipe at Suncor’s oilsands plant leaked into a pond of treated water Monday, and the resulting diluted water flowed into the Athabasca River, a company official said Tuesday.
Suncor spokeswoman Sneh Seetal said a pipe froze and burst, causing a leak that was discovered by an operator during rounds, which happens each shift. The pipe was 10 centimetres in diameter.
It is not known how much waste water flowed into the pond, which contained water that had already been treated and was ready to be returned to the river.
Communities downstream from the plant were notified about the incident and tests are underway to determine if the river water has been affected. Tests results will be available in the coming days.
Both the company and government officials emphasized they are taking the incident seriously.
Yes, of course. Meanwhile, as our good friends at Chevron fight in the courts to stiff Ecuador for oil-spill damages to the Amazon rainforest, they helpfully give one of our own natural areas—Utah's Willard Bay State Park—a little taste of the same treatment. From AP, March 24:
Chevron fuel spill in Utah much worse than thought
WILLARD, Utah — A Chevron fuel spill near a northern Utah bird refuge is much worse than originally thought as up to 27,000 gallons might have leaked, authorities said.
A split in a pipeline that runs from Salt Lake City to Spokane, Wash., is suspected of releasing diesel fuel into soil and marshes at Willard Bay State Park, according to the U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
The agency has filed a corrective action order against Chevron Pipe Line Co. that requires it to gain government approval before the pipeline can reopen. The order also requires Chevron to operate the pipeline at only 80 percent of normal pressure once it reopens.
Great. Talk about closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. And those of us who call for a crash conversion from the fossil fuel economy are the "unrealistic" ones?