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 I N F O R M A T I O N   B U L L E T I N

For Immediate Release
Aug. 11, 2000
Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks

Pine River Oil Spill Response: Update #6

CHETWYND - Two oily birds have been found as a result of the Pembina Pipeline oil spill in Chetwynd, and there was a major fish kill immediately downstream of the spill, the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks said today.

   Despite the number of fish killed, survivors have been seen returning to even the hardest-hit areas of the Pine River. The river has many tributaries, and young fish and older spawning fish may have escaped the spill by remaining in smaller streams away from the main channel, according to staff biologists.

   The two birds recovered from the spill area - a golden eagle and a hooded merganser - were taken to the wildlife rehabilitation centre in Dawson Creek. The eagle was successfully released on Wednesday. The hooded merganser died at the centre.

   No other birds or mammals have been found by ministry staff or Pembina clean-up crews, who continue to walk the river daily. There have been reports that some beaver, otter and mink have been affected. A long-term assessment of the effects of the spill on fish and wildlife and their habitat is under way. It will extend beyond the immediate vicinity of the river.

   The river cleanup by Pembina crews is progressing well and is being monitored by the ministry. More than 250,000 litres of oil has been recovered by the company, and 150 cleanup crew members continue to work on the river. Most of the spill has been recovered from the main channel, and cleanup efforts are now focusing on the log jams and back eddies where oil continues to be found.

   The angling closure remains in effect on all of the Pine River and its tributaries with the exception of the Sukunka and Murray rivers. For health and safety reasons, residents are asked to stay off the river between the spill area and Chetwynd until further notice.

   The toll-free line for the public to report dead or injured fish or wildlife is 1-800-663-3456. The public is reminded not to pick up dead fish or wildlife.

   Please direct all compensation and employment calls to the Pembina Pipeline Corp. office in Chetwynd at 1-866-259-2222 or (250) 788-1667.

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   Editors and news directors please note: the media centre in Chetwynd is closed as of noon today, Friday, Aug. 11.

Contact: Jacqueline Waldorf, (250) 387-9423
Media Relations
Andy Ackerman, (250) 787-3411
Wildlife Manager
Fort St. John

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