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Western Canada Oil Spill Drenches Birds, Will Taint Drinking Water for Months to Come

Despite a devastating pipeline leak that flooded the North Saskatchewan River with 200,000 liters of tar sands crude last Thursday, Husky Energy waited until Monday to shut down the leaking pipeline. An executive with the oil behemothsaid the company was “deeply sorry” for the incident while announcing the pipeline closure.

The apology and pipeline shutdown also only occurred after two cities were forced to shut off their water supplies and photos emerged of birds drenched in “very, very, very thick bitumen,” according to Saskatoon-based rescue organization Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Provincial officials and wildlife rescuers both warn that the effects of the spill will be long-term.

Meanwhile, booms laid on the river to contain the spill have been ineffective, a provincial official who wished to remain anonymous told the Canadian Press, as high water levels have lifted the oil over the barriers. As of Monday evening, less than half of the oil spilled had been recovered.

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