Friday, September 12, 2008

Another Oil Slick and More Dead Ducks

A leaking oil well killed 300-500 ducks and songbirds in Alberta this week. The oil well was no longer being used for production but had not been dismantled. The oil leaked into a field and created a slick that probably appeared like a pond to some of the birds.

The oil slowly leaked out of the well-site, over a period of "days or weeks," Zahary said.

It's unclear how the "extremely unusual" leak occurred, though it's thought to be caused by the plug shifting out of place....

In the past several years, the Canadian Forces have expressed concern about the oil and gas industry's practices at Suffield.

Internal documents that surfaced last year found the military had a long list of worries including soil contamination, abandoned and spilled materials, significant disturbances of lease sites and disregard for at-risk species.

Tuesday a military spokeswoman would not comment on the issue.

But Cliff Wallis, vice-president of the Alberta Wilderness Association, agrees that neither the federal nor provincial governments are taking responsibility for weak regulatory and inspection regimes at Suffield.

"They expect industry to look after themselves," Wallis said. "This is a particularly bad example.

"It just shows industrial development does have impacts."

At the Alberta government, Sheremata said there are 10,500 operated, abandoned and suspended oil and gas wells at Suffield. The leak has not interrupted any base operations, he said.
This is at least the second such incident in Alberta this year; in April hundreds of ducks died in a Syncrude tailings pond.