Canada begins formal investigation into Imperial’s oil sands tailings leak

Canada Global (Web News) An official inquiry into a months-long tailings spill at Imperial Oil’s (IMO.TO) Kearl oil sands project in northern Alberta has been launched by Canada’s federal environment ministry, raising the possibility of legal action.

The Fisheries Act forbids the “deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish” or any other location where such compounds could enter fish-bearing water, and Environment Canada is looking into a possible violation of this law.

Since late May, toxic mining waste known as tailings, which contains water, silt, leftover bitumen, and metals, has been seeping from Imperial’s facility, infuriating nearby Indigenous groups who hunt and fish on the grounds beneath Canada’s oil sands operations.

Since learning about the leak in early February when the Alberta Energy Regulator issued an environmental protection order against Imperial, the federal government has been inspecting the location.

Environment Canada said in a statement that when officers begin gathering evidence for potential prosecution, an enforcement file typically transitions from the inspection stage to the investigation stage.

Along with the investigation, officers will keep an eye on Imperial Oil Ltd.’s mitigation efforts to limit any negative effects on fish-bearing water, according to Environment Canada.

A request for comment from Imperial did not immediately receive a response.

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