Canadian Pipeline Spills 52,000 Gallons of Oil in Aboriginal Area

An energy company is working to make sure "the affected land is restored appropriately." 

Anterra Energy
Larry MacDougal/AP Images

A pipeline in Saskatchewan, Canada has spilled 52,834 gallons of oil onto aboriginal land in recent days, according to reports. 

The government first learned of the leaked fluids late Friday afternoon; since then, more than 44,900 gallons of oil have been cleaned up, Reuters reports. It's not yet clear what caused the spill, or what company operates the pipeline in question. The contaminants are being cleaned by Tundra Energy Marketing Inc.—a company that has a line adjacent to the spillage. 

"There are a number of pipes in the area," said Doug McKnight, assistant deputy minister at Canada's Ministry of the Economy, according to Reuters. "Until we excavate it, we won't know with 100 percent certainty which pipe."

The spill occurred in the Ocean Man First Nation area—87 miles southeast of Regina, Canada. Ocean Man Chief Connie Big Eagle said that on Friday, the spillage was 50 feet in diameter, Reuters reports. The chief also explained that a local had smelled oil for a week before tracking down the spill and bringing it to her attention on Friday. Though there are no residences in close proximity to the spill zone, the nearby cemetery is about 1,320 feet away. 

Tundra said in a statement that it is working with the government and will make sure "the affected land is restored appropriately."

"We have got to make sure that Tundra has done everything that they can to get our land back to the way it was. That can take years," Big Eagle said, according to Reuters. "They have assured me that they follow up and they don't leave ... until we are satisfied."

Just seven months ago, a pipeline operated by Husky Energy Inc. halted the water supply to two cities after it dropped more than 59,430 gallons into a major river.