Fire threat puts oil spill cleanup on hold
Published Sunday, May 15, 2011 1:36PM MDT
Crews involved in the cleanup of Alberta's largest oil spill in more than three decades have been evacuated from the area because of a threat from a forest fire.
The cleanup at the Rainbow Pipeline, operated by Plains Midstream Canada, has been temporarily suspended after an evacuation order was issued late Sunday morning by the Northern Sunrise County Emergency Response Centre.
Hundreds of employees with the company have been working to remove 28,000 barrels of oil that leaked after the pipeline ruptured more than a week ago.
Crews have been using manual and mechanical tools to suck up the oil from the water. So far, they have managed to remove just over a third of the material that spilled into the wetland.
Alberta Environment is overseeing the operation.
The disaster has left 7 beavers, 21 ducks and 13 migratory birds dead.
A third air-monitoring van was brought into the area this weekend to assist in air-monitoring efforts in the area.
The company has insisted it will restore the wetland to its natural state. But one well-known environmental expert, David Schindler, has dismissed the idea the area will ever be completely restored.