Right now in Alberta, tar sands bitumen is spilling into the environment at four different sites, one directly underneath a lake. All four spills have been spilling for months and the Alberta and Canadian governments know all about it, they are just powerless to stop them.

To date over 1,528,996.71 litres of tar sands have been spilled onto the landscape near Cold Lake, Alberta and every day another estimated 3,000 litres pours out.

To help you keep track and to remind the Alberta government, and CNRL (Canadian National Resources Ltd – the company responsible for the spills) that their work is far from over we’ve come up with this handy Cold Lake tar sands spill counter: http://spill-widget.openwe.st/

Cold Lake Tar sands spills

The counter shows, based on the daily spill average, just how much tar sands has been and continues to spill into Alberta’s environment. The counter is actually a conservative estimate the actual spill amount is likely even higher.

While the spill numbers rack up, the questions about these incidents continue to mount and remain unanswered.

Here are a few:

  • If the government of Alberta can’t stop or explain what is causing these spills why do they continue to approve new in-situ tar sands projects that use similar technology? And why do they refuse to do a public inquiry to look into the problem?
  • Why didn’t the Alberta government stop CNRL from injecting steam into the formation once the first and second tar sands spills were discovered?
  • Since the first spill was discovered by accident, do tar sands companies actually know how to detect these type of spills? And are there other spills like this out there?

One of the other under reported facets of this event is that the ongoing spills could be a continuation of a similar event CNRL experienced back in 2009. That would mean some of these spills are four years in the making. The fact that this is even possible raises huge concerns about the Alberta government’s regulatory oversight. Why was CNRL allowed to continue to use steam if the Alberta government’s energy regulator could not conclusively determine what caused the spill or how to keep the spills from happening again?

All of these questions raise serious concerns about the state of in-situ tar sands development in Alberta as well as the government’s oversight and enforcement of the energy industry in Alberta and even more questions were raised by a recent independent report by Kevin Timonney and Peter Lee. These questions need answers.

Please spread the link to the counter at http://spill-widget.openwe.st/and tell Alberta’s energy regulator that you want a public inquiry into these spills and an investigation into the safety of in-situ tar sands technology.

You can write to Jim Ellis at the Alberta Energy Regulator office at: