Canada oil spills create controversy

June 21, 2012 at 7:07 AM   |   0 comments

TORONTO, June 21 (UPI) -- The Canadian economy is still based on petroleum so it's inevitable that some pipeline accidents will occur in oil-heavy areas, the energy minister said.

Pipeline company Plains Midstream Canada has deployed containment boom and hundreds of workers to respond to a leak from its Rangeland pipeline system in Alberta province. That spill corresponded with recent similar incidents from Enbridge and Pace Energy Oil and Gas.

Canadian Energy Minister Ken Hughes said it's unfortunate but inevitable that some accidents will occur.

"Canadians want to drive their automobiles and they want their gasoline available at their corner gas store not far away from their homes and those products get there through our pipeline system," he told the Toronto Star newspaper. "The number of pipelines we have means incidents like this occur from time to time and they simply cannot be avoided in a province like Alberta."

There are more than 24,000 miles of pipeline in Alberta province, the minister said.

Mike Hudema, a spokesman for advocacy group Greenpeace, said the high rate of oil spills is indicative of a systemic problem.

"There are obviously huge problems with oversight and we're leaving too much to companies to regulate and enforce themselves," he was quoted as saying.

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