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Trans Mountain Pipeline Spills up to 50,000 Gallons of Oil on Indigenous Land in BC

Trans Mountain Pipeline Spills up to 50,000 Gallons of Oil on Indigenous Land in BC

Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline spilled as many as 190,000 liters (approximately 50,193 gallons) of crude oil in Abbotsford, British Columbia (BC) Saturday, reinforcing concerns about the safety of the pipeline’s planned expansion.

Chief Dalton Silver of the Sumas First Nation told CTV News that the spill occurred on his reserve on fields over an aquifer that supplies his nation with drinking water. It marks the fourth time in 15 years that the pipeline has spilled on his community’s land.

“We cannot continue to have our land desecrated by oil spills,” he said in a statement issued by the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) Sunday.

The spill occurred early Saturday morning at the pipeline’s Sumas Pump Station, Trans Mountain told CBC News. The company said no construction work related to the pipeline’s expansion was being done at the time of the spill.

Instead, the spill appeared to have been connected to a fitting on a smaller piece of pipe attached to the main line, the company said in a statement.

“The cause of the incident is under investigation and that will continue,” company spokesperson Ali Hounsell told CTV News. “At this time, it’s believed to be a failure of a small-diametre, one-inch piece of pipe.”

The company estimated that between 940 to 1,195 barrels (or 150,000 to 190,000 liters) of oil was released and fully contained.

“Clean-up is well underway with trucks and crews working around the clock,” the company said in a Sunday afternoon statement. “The free-standing oil has been recovered and is being transported to an approved facility for disposal. The site has permanent groundwater monitoring in place and air monitoring continues. Monitoring has not identified any risk to the public or community.”

The pipeline was initially shut off in response to the spill, but restarted around 2 p.m. local time Sunday.

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