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Attorney General

Fish and wildlife assessment to be the focus of provincial response at Pine River spill


CHETWYND - Assessment of the extent of the impacts to fish and wildlife will be the focus of the provincial response to the Pine River oil spill today.

Staff from the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and the Provincial Emergency Program will be working with other agencies to review the impacts as the response effort moves from containment of the oil to long-term planning and recovery.

Today's actions will include an overflight of the river. This visual assessment will help provincial operations centre staff identify priorities for cleanup and mitigative action to protect and restore fish and wildlife and their habitats. A long-term monitoring plan will be developed.

Response staff are concerned about the potential impacts on fish and wildlife, but they are stressing that people should not pick up any dead fish and wildlife. There are safety concerns around untrained people dealing with oiled animals. A wildlife rehabilitation centre is set up in Dawson Creek, and a telephone number will be released shortly for the public to call and report wildlife concerns in the Pine River area.

The District of Chetwynd advises that the Pine River water intake for local drinking water was shut down last night to protect the community's drinking water. Chetwynd has a water reserve for about four to six weeks. Mayor Charles Lasser has advised the community to conserve water. All non-essential water use should be curtailed. In the short term, Chetwynd will be trucking water to the community. A plan to supply water to the community will be developed.

The oil recovery in the Pine River continues. The oil has not moved past the second of three booms set in the river, although the oil sheen is moving down the river past Chetwynd. The movement of the oil sheen is being monitored. Updates will be issued as new information becomes available.

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Contact: Alex Dabrowski, cell (250) 920-6026 Media Relations, Chetwynd