More calls for transparency in the aftermath of Husky oil spill
Independent report released after testing of North Saskatchewan River
Nearly two weeks after a group of grassroots organizers joined together to conduct their own testing of the North Saskatchewan River, a report released Friday is calling on more transparency from Husky Energy.
"It's not enough to say we have this many boats on the water if we don't know what those boats are doing," said Ricardo Segovia. "If they're just rolling up and down the water doing nothing, then it doesn't matter if you have thousands of boats out there."
Segovia was one of three people on the ground collecting data over the last two weeks. He's a hydrogeologist who was looking at the environmental and ecological impacts after the Husky Energy oil spill.
Segovia said the team gathered nine samples at strategic spots along the North Saskatchewan River on Aug.16 and 17. He said thousands of samples are unnecessary in this case. Segovia also said the team collected sediment samples that showed a "definite presence of contaminants."
In an initial primary assessment report of 43 pages, Segovia's team highlighted the data they collected, people they interviewed and provided a detailed description of how they felt Husky's response was inadequate.
"People need to be more critical," said Segovia. "I don't think very many people are criticizing Husky the way they should be criticized."
The independent group wants facts and figures. In the report, there are a number of recommendations highlighted including demanding "full access to the raw data from Husky's sampling program and a detailed cleanup strategy."
The report also calls into question Husky's late reaction to the July oil spill, saying the 14-hour delay "allowed time for the spill to travel much further downstream."
In late July, a pipeline break, reported by Husky Energy, resulted in an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 litres of oil reaching the North Saskatchewan, entering the water near Maidstone, Sask. So far, the government has said Husky has recovered 73 per cent of the oil and solvent that spilled into the river. Eighty-four per cent of the "high priority areas" have been cleaned.
But Segovia says despite Husky continuing their cleanup, they are ignoring the fact that the oil is now settling on the bottom of the river.
"This is going to cause long-terms problems," said Segovia. "There isn't enough detail about the results coming out or the methods used or the quality-control documents."
Segovia and his team are now looking to secure more funding so that they can continue to test the water.
"People are obviously very hungry to get some clear answers and some independent technical data," said Segovia.
Husky Energy responds to report
Husky spokesperson Mel Duvall said in an email response that it is difficult to respond to the report as they did not participate in it.
"I would note that there are a number of basic errors," said Duvall.
Duvall points to a part in the report that claims Husky only took water samples, but Duvall said "more than 1,300 sediment samples have been taken to date."
He also said Husky's response was immediate upon discovery of the leak.
Finally, Duvall said the report states that 250,000 litres of oil was spilled into the river, but said "almost 50 per cent of the spill volume was contained on land and never reached the river."
Duvall finished his email response by saying Husky has shared cleanup plans as well as the results of the testing programs with downstream communities and that the company will continue to do so.