Common Sense Canadian

First Nation upset CNRL is draining lake to contain Alberta bitumen leak

PostedSeptember 29, 2013 by in Western Canada
CNRL ordered to drain lake to contain Alberta bitumen leak

photo: Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Read this Sept. 28 story from CBC on the ongoing Alberta bitumen leak crisis near Cold Lake. The Common Sense Canadian has been following the unfolding disaster for several months now and there appears to be no resolution in sight, as CNRL’s operation has spilled over 1.5 million litres of bitumen thus far.

First Nations near Cold Lake, Alta., are angry an oilsands company is draining a lake close to their home without consulting them.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd is emptying two-thirds of the lake in an effort to stop a bitumen leak from its oil production plant.

Cecil Janvier, a member of the Cold Lake First Nation, says he has never supported oilsandsproduction.

“It shouldn’t have gotten this far,” he said. “It’s just common sense that something was bound to happen.”

More than 1.5 million litres of bitumen — a mixture of oil sands, heavy crude and water — has leaked on CNRL’s Cold Lake Site.  So much, so fast, Alberta Environment ordered CNRL to drain the lake near Janvier’shome immediately.

Trevor Gemmell, with Alberta Environment, says it was an emergency, and because it was an order, no consultation with the First Nation was required.

“Most pipeline spills are over in a matter of days, but this has been going on for a while,” he said. “And the temporary measures that are in place right now that are containing the release, they won’t be effective during the winter months.”

Read more here


About the Author

Common Sense Canadian


    David G Mcrae

    This bitumen blowout does not bode well for the acceptance of future fracking or stimulation of any wells. It unconditionally points to the great weakness that the “best available science” has to offer. That of the unknown, the unpredictable and the uncontrollable!! This bituman leak event puts into question any reliability of the carbon capture and storage practice . Is it also possible that produced water that has been disposed of under very high pressure in deep mature or abandoned bore holes may one day find its way to the surface only to pollute our precious ground water and wetlands?? Does this bituman seep not suggest that FRACKING hazards are not fully understood by the Canadian Petroleum Producers ? What it does show, in a very glaring manner, is a disdain for the environment and those of us that care deeply for it. It is now conceivable that peppering the geology of Western Canada with high density FRACKING procedures can and will result in long term and deleterious effects to our surface and groundwater’s! As I understand the published facts, this Primrose site has previously experienced a bitumen seep. Considering that this site has questionable geological hazards all ready, due diligence and preventive precautions were NOT followed! WHY???

      J Murray

      Well said! From my perspective the fossil fuel industry has tried its best to tell people that all of its failures are in the past and that they’ve learned from their mistakes. Of course, they’re reluctant to say exactly HOW they intend to do things differently. Regardless of what they promise, monetary compensation for damages do not restore the environment.

      We can’t throw the environment under the bus for short-sighted economic growth. Eventually we have to live with those consequences, as do our children. LNGs are touted as a “bridge” to cleaner energy, but that bridge is destroying livelihoods that can never be repaired by money. (See Fractured Land)

      Course, that’s why I’m more immediately concerned for First Nations since they’re already being affected by this environmental destruction as we speak. Climate change and global ecological damage will eventually affect us city-dwellers, but that’s all in the future for us. They’re already living with this reality.

Leave a Response