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Environmentalists, landowners set up pipeline spill tipline

Posted: Jul 9, 2012 2:53 PM ET

Last Updated: Jul 9, 2012 3:31 PM ET

Alberta environmentalists and landowners are setting up an independent, anonymous tipline for people to report pipeline spills.

The provincial government and its energy regulator already have environmental accident tiplines that respond to thousands of calls a year.

But Greenpeace spokesman Mike Hudema says there's a need for a tipline that will release information to the public as well.

He says the tipline will first inform the appropriate industry and government response teams.

The tipline is being announced in newspaper ads running in four smaller Alberta communities with significant energy infrastructure, including Fort McMurray, Peace River, Leduc and St. Paul.

There have been three pipeline spills in Alberta in less than two months.

On June 7, up to 475,000 litres of oil leaked from an unused pipeline into the Red Deer River near Sundre, the source of drinking water for many central Alberta communities, including the city of Red Deer.

Pipeline owner Plains Midstream has mobilized hundreds of workers as well as specialized equipment to clean up the mess.

The following week, a leaky gasket at a pumping station released 230,000 litres of oil near Elk Lake in northeastern Alberta. The pumping station has reopened.

And in late May, 3.5 million litres of oil and salt water leaked into muskeg about 20 kilometres southeast of the northern community of Rainbow Lake.

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