You Spill What You Drill

The frequency of oil spills suggests a deep-seated problem in the energy industry.
Melina Laboucan-Massimo
Date published: 
Tue, 2011-07-05

Oil spills have made a lot of headlines in the last year. And yet, while I knew about the BP spill in the Gulf, Enbridge’s pipeline spill in Michigan, and the 12 spills from the brand new Keystone pipeline carrying oil from the tar sands to the United States, I intimately felt the impact of the 28,000 barrels of oil that, at the end of April this year, leaked from the Rainbow pipeline in northern Alberta in the biggest spill that Alberta has seen in almost 40 years.

The Rainbow spill literally hit home for me, because that oil was soaking into the traditional lands of my people, the Lubicon Cree. It poisoned the air, water, and soils of the community of Little Buffalo, where I was born, and where my family and friends still live.

I was furious that Plains All American, the company that owns the pipeline, kept pumping dirty tar sands oil for five hours after first detecting the leak, and that it took four days for Alberta regulators to officially notify my community of the spill. And I was frustrated, though not surprised, that Alberta government officials were dismissing reports of community members feeling sick from the noxious odors, and of how school had been suspended due to health concerns.

Read the rest of the story at the link below.

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