A huge toxic spill in Alberta, Canada, is raising more questions about the safety of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, as well as the safety of Canada’s own pipeline network. The company responsible for the spill, Apache Corp., a Texas-based company, kept its size quiet for 12 days after the spill was first discovered. The Dene Tha First Nation tribe, which is dependent on much of the land that’s been destroyed in the spill, is understandably livid about the entire situation. According to ThinkProgress, they said every tree and plant in the spill area died.
Over the past 37 years, Canada has seen an average of two spills per day. Not per week, or per month, or per year… per day. Thus, this particular spill is not an isolated incident. Furthermore, the size of the spill isn’t exactly isolated either. Though the rate of “incidents,” as Alberta’s provincial government calls them, has been declining over the past decade, the fact is they’re still quite common.
Despite this appalling track record, the Keystone XL pipeline will not have state-of-the-art spill detection technology, though TransCanada insists it will be safe. The technology they plan to use is intended only to detect high-volume spills, meaning they won’t necessarily detect spills when they’re still small and possibly easily controlled. According to Bloomberg-Businessweek, the pipeline would have to be spilling 12,000 barrels per day before the standard spill detectors would raise an alarm. (Does that mean it won’t detect 11,000 bpd? Sound VERY safe – ed)