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Plains Midstream blogs the cleanup of its oil spill

Plains Midstream Canada, the company whose pipeline leak threatens the Red Deer River and the communities that rely on it for drinking water, is now informing the public of cleanup operations through its own blog.

Created on June 8, Plains Midstream Responds offers news releases, photographs, and directions for local residents on how to find its public information centre.

The most recent update, posted at 3:15 pm EST on June 8, said in part:

Approximately 10 kilometres of an affected segment of the Rangeland south pipeline system has been shut in and booms are being deployed at Gleniffer Reservoir to contain the release.

Emergency response specialists and equipment including specialized boats, skimmers, and response trailers are now on site.

Plains continues to work closely with various regulatory agencies and has been in contact with landowners and local resort operators on Gleniffer Reservoir. As a contingency measure, drinking water has been brought in for local resort operators.

"We deeply regret this incident and are working to ensure we're doing all we can to limit the extent of the release and any community and environmental impacts," says Stephen Bart, Vice President, Crude Oil Operations, Plains Midstream Canada. "We're committing the resources necessary to mount a fullscale response."

... The volume of crude oil released remains under evaluation. Preliminary estimates suggest approximately 1,000 – 3,000 barrels of crude oil was released. The cause of the pipeline release is under investigation.

The spill is also being covered on Twitter by Nathan VanderKlippe and at the hashtag #oilspill, which also has links to news reports on other spills. Local online coverage is available from the Red Deer Advocate and the Drumheller Mail. Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, the ministry responsible, posted a news release about rising river levels but as of the afternoon of June 9 had not yet said anything about the spill.

In related news, Pace Oil & Gas posted on a news release on its site on June 6, reporting that the volume leaked from its water injection site near Rainbow Lake is about one-quarter of the amount originally estimated. It also reported that the spill consists entirely of light sweet oil, not an oil-water emulsion as originally reported.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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