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Crews clean up a pipeline break northeast of Peace River, Alta., on Wednesday. (Ian Jackson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Crews clean up a pipeline break northeast of Peace River, Alta., on Wednesday. (Ian Jackson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Health concerns continue for Cree community near oil spill Add to ...

Health concerns continue to dog Little Buffalo, Alta., the small Cree community near the largest oil spill in the province in 36 years.

About 150 workers are now working to clean up 28,000 spilled barrels from the Rainbow pipeline, amid new information that suggests it's far closer to Little Buffalo than previously disclosed.

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On Wednesday, the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board said it was 30 kilometres from the school in Little Buffalo, which has shut down amid health impacts that include nausea, dizziness and burning eyes. On Thursday, Plains All American Pipeline L.P., whose subsidiary runs the ruptured line, said it is only 12 kilometres from the school. But it said air monitors at the school "have detected no hydrocarbon levels whatsoever."

A spokesman for the ERCB said its initial information was based on driving distance, rather than the straight-line distance.

Repair work on the pipe was completed Wednesday. Regulators must still give permission to restart the line, which means establishing whether it failed because of a broader issue, such as corrosion, or whether it was the result of ground shifting during the spring thaw.

In a statement Thursday, Plains All American said "it appears that the release resulted from a singular failure and not a systemic problem."

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