One of the largest spills in Canadian history was discovered on July 15, 2015. A 42,000 barrel (five million litre) emulsion leak occurred south of Fort McMurray at a Nexen Energy pipeline’s Long Lake tar sands facility. The emulsion, a mixture of bitumen, water and sand, has contaminated 16,000 square metres. The Nexen Energy spill is 14,000 barrels more than the Little Buffalo oil spill on April 29, 2011.
Ironically the spill coincides with a Canadian premiers meeting in St. John’s Newfoundland where they are talking about a national energy strategy and more specifically the approval process for new tar sands pipelines.
Alberta has racked up a vast number of spills and even more destructively, the tar sands are Canada’s fastest growing source of climate change causing carbon emissions. The tar sands are making it impossible for Canada to live up to its emission reduction pledges.
Greenpeace called the spill a “stark reminder of how dangerous they can be,” Peter Louwe, Greenpeace communications officer said, “We need to stop new pipeline projects before they’re built and focus on building renewable sources of energy that are sustainable and won’t threaten communities, our environment, and the planet.”