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Alberta oil spills highlight aging pipelines, lax regulations, say environmental groups

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Alberta pipeline spillsEnvironmental groups are pointing to three major oil spills in Alberta in the last six weeks as proof that the government needs stricter regulations and oversights over the province’s aging pipeline infrastructure.

The latest spill occurred earlier this week in northeastern Alberta near the town of Elk Point, where Enbridge confirmed a spill of about 230,000 litres through its pumping station on the Athabasca pipeline.

The biggest incident was earlier this month near Red Deer and Sundre in central Alberta, where 475,000 litres of oil from Plains Midstream Canada leaked, some of it spilling into the Red Deer River.

In May, a Pace Energy Oil and Gas oil leak near Rainbow Lake in the northwest of the province spilled about 5,000 barrels.

“Keeping track of all of these is getting harder and harder,” said Don Bester, of the landowners’ lobby association Alberta Surface Rights Group, which has about 1,400 members. “It doesn’t matter what the number of litres are. It’s critical to get these pipelines out of the water system.”


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