2. 3 More Oil Spills Raise Safety Concerns 8 June 12 (from Manitoba Wildlands newsletter)
Three Alberta pipeline spills in less than a month are raising safety concerns about pipelines.
June 7, 2012Sundre Petroleum Operators Group, a not-for-profit society, notified Plains Midstream Canada of a major leak on the Rainbow Pipeline near Sundre, Alberta. The spill has resulted in up to 475,000 litres of light sour crude oil flowing into Jackson Creek, a tributary of the Red Deer River.
"I would expect that the vast majority of it will end up in the Red Deer River," said Bruce Beattie, Reeve of Mountain View County. "It's a major concern."
The area around Sundre is common getaway area for people in Calgary and popular with anglers and hunters because of the pristine wilderness.
The Rainbow Pipeline also saw one of the largest pipeline spills in the Alberta history - a 4.5 million-litres of oil spill northeast of Peace River, Alberta April 29, 2011. Clean up the April 29, 2011 pipeline spill continues. May 19, 2012an estimated 800,000 litres of spilled oil was discovered southeast of Rainbow Lake, 165 km south of the Northwest Territories border. As with many recent pipeline accidents, Calgary-based Pace did not detect a problem, but was informed by another company after the spill was spotted from an aircraft. The spill, which came from above ground piping connecting an underground pipeline now covers 4.3 hectares. "First Nations need to be informed immediately when such incidents occur and certainly not by media ten days after the fact. Large and uncontrolled oil spills are not rare; this is the second in two years in this region. Muskeg is critical habitat for a range of culturally important species," said National Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo. May 9. 2012AltaGas Ltd. confirmed a pipeline rupture resulting in natural gas and light oil leak of approximately 1,600 litres near the Hobbema Alberta, town site of Samson Cree First Nation. The farmer on whose land the leak occurred heard a boom on April 30, 2012. Then on May 8, 2012 his children found the spill coming to the surface."If this rupture did occur 10 days ago, why has it taken the company so long to respond?" questioned Greenpeace Canada Climate and Energy Campaigner Mike Hudema. Alberta is criss-crossed with pipelines, which consolidate oil and gas and bring them to plants that strip away impurities like water. With numerous planned pipeline extensions, including the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, pipeline failures are likely to increase.
View June 8, 2012 CBC News coverage
View June 8, 2012 Globe and Mail coverage
View June 8, 2012 Sean Kheraj article
View June 8, 2012 CTV News coverage
View June 8, 2012 Financial Post coverage
View June 8, 2012 Calgary Herald coverage
View June 5, 2012 Assembly of First Nations press release
View May 30, 2012 Globe and Mail Coverage
View May 9, 2012 Vancouver Observer article
View May 9, 2012 Edmonton Journal article
View May 9, 2012 Globe and Mail coverage
Sources: Globe and Mail, Vancouver Observer, Assembly of First Nations
3. IISD has collaborated with other stakeholders to develop Do What Matters: Lake friendly practices and actions, a guide for residents, farmers, fishers, recreational users, cottagers, students, businesses and local governments. The publication emphasizes the importance of collective action.
While the guide was developed to address issues within the Lake Winnipeg Basin, the best practices described in the guide can be applied to aid any lake experiencing eutrophication (nutrient loading). Nutrient loading can lead to severe and potentially toxic algal blooms.
These practices can help combat nutrient loading in Lake Winnipeg, the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world, and also help water bodies such as the United States and Canada’s Lake Erie; Hungary’s Lake Balaton; Japan’s Lake Biwa; Lake Victoria in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya; and Lake Dianchi in China.
“We want lake friendly practices and actions to become second nature to people,” said Henry David (Hank) Venema, director of IISD’s Water Innovation Centre. “We’re learning lessons and coming up with innovative solutions in the Lake Winnipeg Basin, and we can share these to help other countries experiencing similar problems.”
“The real strength of Do What Matters: Lake friendly practices and actions is that it highlights that everyone—business, government, farmers, homeowners—all need to be part of a broad-based solutions culture that can save money and create other environmental benefits while healing the lake,” Venema said.
Among the best practices featured in the guide are:
Sustainable procurement policies for lake friendly products.
Nutrient recycling and recovery from wastewater treatment facilities.
The use of native grasses and plants requiring low nutrient and water inputs.
The use of permeable materials such as wood decking or gravel for parking pads and sidewalks to allow water to percolate into the ground.
On-farm water storage and runoff reuse (for example using conserved and restored wetlands).
4.New WSP Publication Offers Snapshot of Canadian Concerns About Fresh WaterThe POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, in partnership with Simon Fraser University's Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT), recently released the new report Cross-Canada Checkup: A Canadian Perspective on Our Water Future. The report represents the first time since the mid-1980s that the pulse has been taken on the national state of fresh water in Canada.
Cross-Canada Checkupis a synthesis of themes, perspectives, and information from the Forum for Leadership on Water's fall 2011 national water discussion series tour. Leading Canadian water expert Bob Sandford travelled to 16 cities across the country, learning about and discussing regional and national water issues at each stop.
The report offers a first-hand perspective on current and emerging water challenges and priorities across the country, and illustrates the interrelatedness of many water issues common to all Canadians. The authors present the Northwest Territories' groundbreaking new water stewardship strategy as a model for water policy reform in the rest of Canada, and discuss the emerging need for a new national vision for understanding the value of water in this country.
"Cross-Canada Checkup provides a sweeping picture of Canadian water priorities and allowed us to draw out the themes that stretch across jurisdictions," says the WSP's Jesse Baltutis, who co-authored the report. "Hopefully it will give politicians the means to start engaging on water issues and making better decisions."
The report was officially released at last month's Living Lakes Canada Gathering in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Complementing the release, Jesse Baltutis, Bob Sandford and the Forum for Leadership on Water's Ralph Pentland were guest speakers at the WSP's May 29th Creating a Blue Dialogue webinar. Their presentations drew on the main themes and messages inCross-Canada Checkup, offering perspectives on the current state of fresh water across the country. A recording of the webinar can be viewed on the WSP's YouTube channel.
Electronic copies of the report can be downloaded from the WSP website.