Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pipeline Oil Spill Poisons Muskeg in Northern Alberta

There has been another oil spill in Alberta that has poisoned a large area of muskeg. This spill occurred at a pipeline belonging to Canadian Natural Resources Limited approximately 27 kilometers north of Red Earth Creek. According to the Alberta Energy Regulator around 60,000 litres of crude oil have spilled into muskeg northwest of Slave Lake.

Muskeg is an Algonquian term for "grassy bog," another name for it is peatland. It generally is defined by a wet environment and vegetation.
Muskeg is made out of dead plants that have been decomposed, or broken down, by different types of bacteria and fungi. Muskeg also contains moss called sphagnum (SFAG-num), which can absorb up to thirty times its weight in water, as well as wet, sloppy mud that forms the foundation of the bog. Many different kinds of plants grow in muskeg, including moss and black spruce (tamarack) trees. Many different birds eat the seeds of the Black Spruce and although larger animals do not feed from this tree the White-tailed deer will eat young trees of this type.

This spill is the second major incident by the company's owners this year. In April, a pipeline owned by the company spilled 70,000 litres of oil and processed water in the province.

Canadian Natural Resources Limited is but one pipeline company of many who regularly experience oil spills in Alberta. It is a statistical fact that wherever you find an oil pipeline, you will also find leaks.

Related
Two Pipeline Spills: Tar Sands and Brine
Unstoppable Oil Leak at a Tar Sands Production Site in Alberta
Infographic: 13 Oil Spills in 30 Days
Top 25 Oil Spills Over 1000 Tonnes in the Last Decade
Pipelines and Oil Spills in Alberta Canada

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