Yesterday night Suncor admitted that for 10-hrs on Monday, March 25th its pipe gushed, releasing toxic, chemically treated water into the environment and the Athabasca river, the drinking water supply for countless animals, birds and human populations like the downstream community of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.
I want you to think about that for a minute.
In 10-hrs you could watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, walk out and still see the pipe spewing.
In 10-hrs you could watch 3 hockey games two of which went to overtime.
In 10-hrs you could fly from Edmonton to Toronto and back again.
10-hrs is a long time. It’s especially a long time if we are talking about a spill of water filled with toxic chemicals and especially if it’s your drinking water we’re talking about.
Graphic courtesy of Chelsea Flook
The Government of Alberta said that Suncor notified them of the toxic water spill at 1:45 pm and that the pipe was capped at 4:00 pm. That leaves 7 hrs and 45 mins unaccounted for. What happened during that 7 hrs? Did Suncor fail to report the incident immediately? Or did Suncor just not notice the toxic spill for 7 hrs? Yeses to either answer are more than worrying.
The company and the Alberta government still won’t release pictures of the spill. Instead we have only news releases with sparse details and claims of ‘negligible impact’. Suncor claims ‘negligible impact’ even though it says it doesn’t know what specific chemicals were in the water.
Maybe if we had the long promised independent monitoring system we would have some answers we could trust but it’s still years away from implementation and the Alberta government still hasn’t committed to its independence.
Companies and governments shouldn’t be able to get away with incidents like this. We deserve answers, we deserve accountability, and we deserve more than another toxic spill.
Please share this story so that the Alberta government can’t spread its tar sands greenwash across the continent. Act in whatever ways you can and soon when we call on you, stand with us against this horror show.