Last night Rachel and producer Mike put together a fascinating, unsettling look at the decades-long history of crude oil spills in Alberta, Canada. The video's after the jump, but what you need to know for now is that over the past 37 years, that oil-rich Canadian province has experienced an average of two spills every day.
Stateside, in the oil-rich northeast of Colorado, eight counties are working a plan to secede and form a 51st state to be called North Colorado. The local Greeley Tribune (subs. req'd.) reports today on the spill of 100 barrels of "brine water" (pdf) at one drilling operation in one of those counties.
That happened on May 29. Since then, in that one county, the state has also recorded these spills, as relayed by the Greeley Tribune:
» Whiting Oil and Gas Corp.: A natural well surge at a site in the Pawnee National Grassland caused a water tank to overflow. No groundwater or surface water was affected.» Kerr-McGee Oil and Gas Onshore LP: Historical petroleum hydrocarbon was detected in soil where a tank battery had been stored north of Hudson. No groundwater or surface water was affected.» PDC Energy Inc.: Historical petroleum hydrocarbon was detected in the soil where a tank battery had been stored south of Greeley. Groundwater was affected, but surface water was not.» PDC Energy Inc.: Historical petroleum hydrocarbon was detected in the soil where a tank battery had been stored north of Greeley. Groundwater was affected, but surface water was not.» Kerr-McGee Oil and Gas Onshore LP: A spud drill rig tipped over and caused nine barrels of water-based drilling mud to release. Groundwater and surface water were not affected.» Noble Energy Inc.: A water vault on a tank battery northeast of Greeley overfilled after an oil dump malfunction. Groundwater and surface water were not affected. The company contacted nearby farmers to schedule clean up.
Seeing as how they're all fairly small, these mishaps are not likely to make national news. But they're happening, drip by drip, in a region where energy companies are hoping to drill thousands of wells. After the jump, the story of the spill(s) no one noticed in Alberta.