07/28/2011 05:28 EDT | Updated 09/27/2011 05:12 EDT

Alberta pipeline owner asks to reopen after spill

Plains Midstream Canada has applied to reopen a pipeline that leaked 4.5 million litres of crude oil into the northern Alberta forest just three months ago.

The company is still cleaning up after the spill, one of the largest in Alberta history, and says it intends to restore the damaged area about 100 kilometres northeast of Peace River.

But now it wants to get oil moving again and has asked permission from the Energy Resources Conservation Board to start using the Rainbow line.

Premier Ed Stelmach said earlier that the pipeline wouldn’t be allowed to operate until the nearby First Nation community of Little Buffalo can be assured it is safe.

The pipeline runs 775 kilometres from Zama, Alta., to Edmonton and can move 220,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

In addition to contaminating beaver ponds, muskeg and other wilderness, the spill on April 29 forced producers to reduce their shipments.