May 05, 2011 07:50 ET
LUBICON LAKE NATION, LITTLE BUFFALO, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - May 5, 2011) - The Lubicon Lake Nation is actively responding to an oil spill that has leaked 4.5 million litres of oil onto their lands.
A Plains Midstream Canada pipeline began leaking oil onto the Peace River watershed on Thursday and crews are now working to clean it up. The spill occurred on the traditional territory of the Lubicon Lake Nation and near lands set aside for the Nation's future reserve, which the pipeline runs through. These lands were intended to be protected from oil and gas development according to provincial government officials. Chief Bernard Ominayak and Council met with officials from Plains Midstream Canada yesterday morning and have been in close contact with the Energy Resources Conservation Board to manage the environmental disaster.
The Chief and Council are currently assessing the community's needs and would welcome any assistance from willing medical professionals and environment experts and invite them to contact the Lubicon Lake Nation administration office.
"Ensuring our people are healthy and that the impacts to the land are minimized is our top priority right now," said Chief Ominayak. "In our meeting yesterday, the Plains representative said that the initial containment should be completed by this weekend. We hope to continue to have meaningful dialogue with Plains Midstream Canada going forward which will include the Lubicon Lake Nation actively participating in cleanup efforts."
At this point, it is too early to speculate as to what the aftermath may be. But, after a spill of this size, it is hard to imagine the land will ever be the same. Once the immediate effects of the spill have been assessed, the Lubicon Lake Nation hopes to sit down with government and industry to develop a better plan for responding to and preventing spills. The consultation and accommodation requirements for government and industry groups have not been properly adhered to; this is a key problem that needs to be addressed.
"The Lubicon Lake Nation should have been informed about this disaster on day one by Plains Midstream Canada. If we had not heard from the ERCB on Friday we would not have known what was going on. This is our traditional territory, who better to manage these lands than us? We intend to play an active role in future phases of the cleanup along with Plains Midstream Canada, ASRD and Alberta Fish and Wildlife so we can limit the aftermath of this disaster and ensure the future of our Nation," said Chief Ominayak.
Lubicon Lake NationGarrett TomlinsonCommunications Coordinator780-629-3945 (Office) or 780-618-3794 (Cell)780-629-3939 (FAX)
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