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Tundra Energy pipeline spills 200,000 litres of oil on Canadian Aboriginal lands

Tundra Energy Marketing has been confirmed as the operator of an oil pipeline that sprung a leak and spilled 200,000 litres of oil onto Aboriginal land in Saskatchewan, Canada.

The leak was detected by a community member late last week, and Tundra Energy confirmed on Wednesday that the pipeline, located some 140km from the city of Regina, had been found to be theirs.

"An excavation of the release site has confirmed Tundra Energy Marketing as the operator of the pipeline," the company said in a statement, adding that it was working with regulators and the Ocean Man First Nation indigenous group to determine the cause.

Provincial authorities are currently investigating how long the pipe had leaked undetected and what kind of leak detection measures were in place.

The local government said on Tuesday that 147,000 litres of oil had been recovered from the site, and 185m3 of contaminated soil had been removed.

The leak occurred only days after US President Donald Trump reapproved the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, which Native American tribes fear may spill and compromise drinking water supplies.

"The spill confirms the worst fears of indigenous communities and environmental organisations and no doubt strengthens their resolve to resist and fight back the approved Kinder Morgan and Line 3," Rauna Kuokkanen, an associate professor of political science and indigenous studies at the University of Toronto, told Reuters.

Chief Connie Big Eagle of the Ocean Man First Nation said a member of the native band had detected the smell of oil days before the leak was officially discovered.

“Many of our people grew up in the oil industry and have made their careers in the oil industry and currently work in the oil industry so there’s lots of knowledge,” she told Energetic City.

“I don’t know about things returning to normal, as far as the environment goes, but I know we’re all co-operating at this point, ensuring it’s cleaned up properly and no further damage is caused to the land or the environment.”

According to Saskatchewan Energy and Resources Minister Dustin Duncan, Tundra Energy will pay for the oil cleanup.

This article was written by Ilari Kauppila, editor at Fluid Handling International