Environmental group frets over tar sands future

July 26, 2013 at 9:27 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- A 10-week-old oil leak in a Canadian forest is what the future holds for North American energy markets, the Natural Resources Defense Council said.

A report last week from the Toronto Star suggested Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. has been unable to control an underground oil release. The report said the company removed more than 26,000 barrels of oil mixed with surface water since May but the release is ongoing.

Danielle Droitsch, director of Canadian monitoring for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the legacy of tar sands operations was appalling.

"As this tar sands oil well blowout spreads unabated, we see once again that environmental damage from this industry is appallingly widespread, breathtakingly common, poorly overseen and largely kept from the public," she said in a statement Thursday.

A scientist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, nobody can figure out how to control the leak.

A provincial regulator said there was no threat to the public from the spill in the remote forest. The Toronto Star said several animals have died in the affected area and more than 67,000 pounds of oil-soaked vegetation was removed from four spill sights.

The company told the newspaper it was taking the matter seriously.

Droitsch said incidents like these are what the industry can expect as more Canadian oil finds its way to regional markets.

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