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Calls for Husky oil spill updates

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World Pipelines,

After the Husky Energy oil spill in the North Saskatchewan river, a group of grassroots organisers joined to conduct their own testing of the area. The group, the Santa Fe, New Mexico E-Tech International, which published its findings in a report calling for more transparency from Husky Energy.

Ricardo Segovia, a hydrogeologist for the Santa Fe, New Mexico E-Tech International who has been analysing the environmental and ecological impacts after the Husky Energy oil spill and one of three people collecting data for the group over the last two weeks commented: "It's not enough to say we have this many boats on the water if we don't know what those boats are doing. 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 compared Husky’s reaction to the spill to Enbridge Inc.’s reaction to a similar, yet larger, spill into Michigan’s Kalamazoo river in 2010, stating that their response was “light years” behind.

If Husky Energy had found the spill as soon as it happened and reacted more rapidly, the oil would not have had time to affect the water supply in the area. They would have been able to contain the spill in the first few kilometers of the river stretch, Segovia added.

E-Tech International’s report confirmed this, stating: “The delayed reaction by Husky was a lost opportunity to capture oil on the surface and has now become a much more complicated problem of recovering oil below the surface.”

According to CBC News, Segovia’s team gathered nine samples at strategic spots along the North Saskatchewan River. They also collected sediment samples, which showed a presence of contaminants.

Segovia notes that despite Husky continuing its cleanup, it is disregarding the fact that oil is now settling on the bottom of the river, which will cause long-terms problems.

Calling Husky's late reaction into question, the group now want facts and figures. In the report, there are a number of recommendations highlighted, such as requesting full access to the raw data from Husky's sampling programme.

"People are obviously very hungry to get some clear answers and some independent technical data," said Segovia.

Husky’s response

Husky has criticised the chronology of events outlined in E-Tech International’s report, with spokesman Mel Duvall stating: “[the company’s] response was immediate upon discovery of the leak and was informed by the responsible provincial and federal regulators as well as the foremost scientists and experts in the field.”

Duvall also points to a part in the report that claims Husky only took water samples. Duvall said: "more than 1300 sediment samples have been taken to date."

Edited from various sources by Anna Nicklin

Sources: CBC News, Global News, The Star Phoenix

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