April 29th 2013 marked the 2nd year anniversary of the massive rainbow oil spill near my family's homes in Little Buffalo, Alberta - an experience I will never forget.
After 2 years of waiting and pushing the Alberta government for some sort of justice after a massive oil spill near my family’s homes, the government finally charged the company responsible for one of the biggest oil spills in Alberta’s history.
Video: Oil on Lubicon Land
But while Plains Midstream will see the inside of a court room the Alberta government and its regulatory body the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) still has not answered for its role in this tragic incident.
Greenpeace’s recent report, The Rainbow Spill: A Case of Crime and (No) Punishment, shows how the Alberta government repeatedly put public relations and the interests of oil companies, above the needs of my family, community, and the land, air & water. There are many alarming items in the report that will shock you - such as how the government intentionally misrepresented the results of the air-testing where children go to school.
Melina Laboucan-Massimo returned to the site of the April 2011 Rainbow spill in July 2012, and found the water was still contaminated by oil.
To make matters worse the Alberta Government is in the process of replacing the ERCB by Alberta’s new super-regulator, the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB) and appointed a real oil and gas insider as its chair.
The ERB will take over the regulatory functions of the Energy Resources Conservation Board and the Environment and Sustainable Resource Development department with respect to oil, gas, tars sands, and coal extraction.
The establishment of this new agency represented an opportunity to start anew.
However, the Alberta government chose to appoint an oil industry insider, Gerry Protti, to head up this new body.
Protti worked for over 15 years at the oil and gas company EnCana and its predecessor companies. In fact, he was the founding president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (the oil industry’s main lobby group). At the time of this appointment he was actually a registered lobbyist for the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, an oil industry lobby group.
If the government proceeds along this path, the result will be further damage to the credibility of regulatory process, faulty decisions, and a failure to protect Alberta’s communities and ecosystems from future preventable disasters like the Rainbow Pipeline spill.
Albertans deserve better and so does my community.