"'Nobody Understands' Spills at Alberta Oil Sands Operation"

"Oil spills at an oil sands operation in Cold Lake, Alberta have been going on for weeks with no end in sight, according to a government scientist."

"Oil spills at a major oil sands operation in Alberta have been ongoing for at least six weeks and have cast doubts on the safety of underground extraction methods, according to documents obtained by the Star and a government scientist who has been on site.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. has been unable to stop an underground oil blowout that has killed numerous animals and contaminated a lake, forest, and muskeg at its operations in Cold Lake, Alta.

The documents indicate that, since cleanup started in May, some 26,000 barrels of bitumen mixed with surface water have been removed, including more than 4,500 barrels of bitumen.

The scientist said Canadian Natural Resources is not disclosing the scope of spills in four separate sites, which have been off bounds to media and the public because the operations are on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, where there is active weapons testing by the Canadian military.

The company says it is effectively managing and cleaning up the spills."

Emma Pullman and Martin Lukacs report for the Toronto Star July 19, 2013.

Source: Toronto Star, 07/23/2013