Alta. Gov't says oil spilled in Colorado was not from oilsands
Published Thursday, December 1, 2011 6:24PM MST
Days after an oily sheen appeared on a Colorado river and kicked up environmental scrutiny of Alberta's oilsands, CTV News has learned the only connection to Alberta, is the company that owns the refinery behind the leak.
Earlier this week, an oily substance was found in the South Platte River, which is a source of drinking water for the greater Denver area.
Calgary-based Suncor has since admitted the leak came from their Commerce City refinery in Colorado.
The seepage sparked a firestorm of scrutiny from environmental groups – early reports pinned the blame on crude from Alberta's oilsands.
Alberta's Energy Minister wasn't surprised by the early blame placed on Alberta's oilsands.
"Every oil spill, every accident in the United States is going to be blamed on Alberta in the next eighteen months," Minister Ted Morton said. "So get used to exaggeration."
The province said their information states the product used at that refinery comes from Wyoming.
Suncor did not return calls from CTV News requesting an interview.
"I don't think every oil spill will be blamed on Alberta," Greenpeace spokesperson Mike Hudema said. "But there are definitely a number of spills that have happened due to tar sands crude flowing through pipelines,
"That is the reason that you are seeing so many groups in Canada and the U.S. opposing these pipelines."
The spill comes as the Keystone XL pipeline has consistently made headlines, and sparked protests in the U.S. and Canada.
The proposed Keystone pipeline would transport crude from Alberta to Texas, and hit a snag recently when it came out that part of the proposed route wound through a protected part of Nebraska.
Now that the route has changed, American politicians are now pushing the pipeline to start building within the next two months.
Ted Morton will be heading to Texas next week – and environmentalists will certainly keep a close eye on his trip, now armed with an example of what could happen.
"It's a foreseeable disaster, we know that oil spills happen all the time," Hudema said. "And we know there are better solutions out there."
With files from Kevin Armstrong