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Safety of bitumen extraction questioned –

FEBRUARY 3, 2014

OTTAWA — Satellite imagery used by the federal government to review a major bitumen leak last year in Alberta has found the project’s steam-based extraction caused “measurable levels of ground deformation in the area of the leak” at a rate 10 times faster than other oilsands operations.

The data obtained from satellite observations — and presented to senior officials at Natural Resources Canada last fall — are sparking new questions about the incident at a Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) operation in northeast Alberta and the safety of bitumen extraction.

The information is also sounding more alarm bells for the nearby Cold Lake First Nations, who are worried various oilsands operations in the area are contaminating local groundwater and damaging their traditional lands.

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