There’s been a lot of reporting in the last few days about the Apache industrial waste water spill in Northwestern, Alberta. The massive spill poured over 9.5 million litres of toxic water into aninternationally recognized wetlands area near Zama City, Alberta, the traditional territory of the Dene Tha.
The Dene Tha are already reporting wide spread damage from dead trees, to poisoned wetlands and tributaries to impacts on wildlife and waterfowl. With over 42 hectares, the size of 52 CFL football fields affected the effects could be quite long lasting and hard to clean-up.
While questions remain like: how long was toxic industrial waste water spilling into the environment and when will pictures of the event will be released - one of the big questions that must be asked is did the Alberta government try to cover the whole thing up?
Credit: Dene Tha
The Alberta government found out about the Zama spill on June 1st. The spill was detected by an Apache company plane that spotted it from the air. Viewing the spill from the air, it should have been immediately apparent that this spill was huge and quite significant yet for the next 6-days the public heard nothing about the spill from either the company or the Alberta government.
The spill only came to light when, according to media reports, a local resident reported it to a TV station.
With a spill so large why did the Alberta government not report it to the public? Was the Redford government hoping that because of the remoteness of the area that they could just cover it up because no one would notice?
This is a very chilling question because a yes answer means that Alberta has a government willing to go to almost any length to control it’s image regardless of the truth, the impacts on the environment or the public’s right to timely and accurate information.