Reaction of  Melina Laboucan Massimo, member of the Lubicon Cree and Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, to today's announcement that clean up operations at the massive Rainbow Pipeline oil spill near Little Buffalo were suspended at 11 am this morning due to uncontrolled forest fires in the region. Currently in Alberta there are 115 forest fires with 36 that are listed as "out of control".

The Northern Sunrise county council has declared a local state of emergency for the areas around Little Buffalo and Marten Lake due to the forest fire. The Alberta Wildfire Facebook site has also asked members of the communities of Marten Lake and Little Buffalo to evacuate voluntarily as they are on an evacuation alert.

"Today's suspension of clean up operations and the evacuation of workers at the massive oil spill site near Little Buffalo due to wildfires shows the on-going threats that oil spills pose to local communities. We pray that this fire doesn't add more problems to an already devastating situation of Little Buffalo and for the environment."

"This is already the second evacuation of the spill site in less than a week. We want to know where the provincial and federal governments are in dealing with this dangerous and potentially escalating situation. Fears and concerns are mounting in the Little Buffalo community and both levels of government seem to be missing in action in dealing with this serious situation."

 

Background: Plains Midstream Canada, owner of the Rainbow Pipeline, issued a release earlier today saying it had suspended clean up operations due to a forest fire threat. The company cited an evacuation order issued by the Northern Sunrise County Emergency Response Centre that was effective at 11 a.m.

 

Melina Laboucan-Massimo is available for interviews at: (780) 504-5567

Brian Blomme, Greenpeace communications coordinator, (416) 930-9055,brian.blomme@greenpeace.org