Alberta Government Charges Plains Midstream Over Oil Spill

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TORONTO - The Alberta government has filed charges against Plains Midstream Canada ULC, a unit of U.S. energy pipeline operator Plains All American Pipeline L.P., for an oil spill in 2011 in northern Alberta, according to a notice on the western Canadian province's web site.

The oil spill, which happened in a fairly isolated stretch of boreal forest in northern Alberta, leaked about 28,000 barrels from Plains Midstream's Rainbow pipeline system, making it one of the province's largest in 36 years. The pipeline runs from northern Alberta to Edmonton, the provincial capital.

Plains Midstream faces three charges under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, according to the provincial notice. They include one charge for the release of a substance that causes or could cause an "adverse effect" on the environment; another charge alleging failure "to take all reasonable measures to repair, remedy and confine the effects of the substance" as soon as the company "knew or ought to have become aware of the release;" and a third charge for "failing to take all reasonable measures to remediate, manage, remove or otherwise dispose of the substance...in such a manner as to prevent an adverse effect or further adverse effect," according to the government notice.

A representative for Plains Midstream couldn't be reached. But the company on its web site said that its efforts to clean up the spill are working.

"In the 22 months since the release, ongoing inspections have confirmed that remediation activities are complete (and) third-party remediation and reclamation experts inspect the site and assess the monitoring results to confirm the absence of contamination," the company said on the web site.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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