Plains Midstream Canada, wow, what an ironic name given their midstream oil leak on the plains of Alberta. I hope Plains Midschool Canada, or Plains Midlake Canada don’t operate in Regina.
Gord Johnston grew up on the banks of the Red Deer River, at a place his family first settled in 1939. On Thursday evening, just before 7, he returned home to the nauseating smell of crude oil in the air.
Little more than an hour later he was in a helicopter, flying down one of Alberta’s principal waterways, where he saw a wide plume of oil flowing along the banks of a river that had already flooded its banks, running heavy with rainfed spring melt.
The oil, some 1,000 to 3,000 barrels of which spilled from a pipeline owned by Plains Midstream Canada, stretched nearly 10 kilometres up-river from Mr. Johnston’s 57 acres on the Red Deer River. As they flew in the helicopter, the source of the leak was obvious: “You could see it boiling up where the line crossing was,” Mr. Johnston said.
The oil was surging up into the river from below, where a pipeline owned by Plains Midstream Canada ran. That company, in an early press release, said the oil leaked into a creek leading into the river. Mr. Johnston saw differently. It was leaking from underneath the river itself.
“How do you clean that up?” Mr. Johnston said, as he drove a reporter through his property, large portions of which are now stained with oil.
“My place is destroyed,” he said, as he prepared to abandon home, hoping that someone would offer security to protect it in his absence. “My whole life’s work is gone. I’ve pretty well lost it all here.”
Adding to his concern: there are no booms anywhere near his place. Workers, instead, have concentrated their efforts on cleaning the spill some 30 kilometres away, at a dam, as they attempt to keep the oil from making it to the city of Red Deer, which uses the river as its primary water source.
The Alberta government will laughably claim that they’ll make victims of the spill “whole”, like the farcical Obama government after the BP Gulf disaster a couple years ago. It hasn’t been cleaned up completely, because it’s beyond human capacity to do so.
If you don’t know how to fix it, stop breaking it!
There’s no bringing back the dead, and there’s no way to fix a massive oil spill. You can learn from mistakes, but sadly it seems even that small take-away is being left in the past.
Hat tip to West End Bob
Oh, I read soon after I wrote this blog post on Friday, that the man whose land was destroyed, had been hospitalized due to the fumes. You can see in the quote above that he and his wife were already feeling ill before they talked with the Globe and Mail:
“Light sour crude oil has a strong petroleum odour but this odour does not pose a health or safety risk to the public,” Plains Mistream said in a statement, “Plains is monitoring air and water quality closely and will notify residents of any changes.”
Plains Midstream, a subsidiary of Plains All American American Pipeline LP, is the same company that saw a 28,000-barrel spill in northern Alberta last year. That spill on the Rainbow pipeline was discovered in late April of 2011. It halted operations on some stretches of the Rainbow line until late August.
I think we know how much we can trust the PR department of Plains Midstream for medical (or pipeline) advice. Hilarious that they are “All American Pipeline”, yet they have a Canadian subsidiary. They also don’t know the meaning of the word “all” perhaps. Could we see how much they are owned outside of America and Canada too?