According to new figures released by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) the total amount of bitumen emulsion - a mixture of tar sands heavy crude and water - released on Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.'s (CNRL) Cold Lake Site is now more than 1.5 million litres, or the equivalent to more than 9600 barrels of oil.
A draft version of a new investigative report released this week by Global Forest Watch and Treeline Ecological Research argues the series of underground leaks currently releasing a mixture of tar sands bitumen and water into a surrounding wetland and forest on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range is related to a similar set of spills caused by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) in-situ operations in 2009. The cause of the 2009 seepage was never determined and details of an investigation by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), then called the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), weren't made public until last year, four years after the initial incident.
Gerry Protti, Alberta's new overseer of environment and safety in the province's oilpatch, has been central to a network of oil industry front groups and lobbyists for many years and it is raising the eyebrows of more than a few people. Protti was recently named as the new head of the Alberta Energy Regulator, a new provincial agency whose mandate, is "...to provide for the efficient, safe, orderly and environmentally responsible development of energy resources in Alberta."