The oil was surging up into the river from below, where a pipeline owned by Plains Midstream Canada ran. That company, in an early press release, said the oil leaked into a creek leading into the river. Mr. Johnston saw differently. It was leaking from underneath the river itself.
In the following hours, he and his wife Bonnie would also see an oil-stained young beaver, a dead oil-covered whitefish and mats of grass and debris and brush and tree root covered in oil from the flooding river. As they battled headaches and nausea, and prepared to leave for a hotel - no oil company had yet contacted them to offer accommodations - they also faced a heartbreaking question: are their decades on the Red Deer over?
"How do you clean that up?" Mr. Johnston said, as he drove a reporter through his property, large portions of which are now stained with oil.
"My place is destroyed," he said, as he prepared to abandon home, hoping that someone would offer security to protect it in his absence. "My whole life's work is gone. I've pretty well lost it all here."
Adding to his concern: there are no booms anywhere near his place. Workers, instead, have concentrated their efforts on cleaning the spill some 30 kilometres away, at a dam, as they attempt to keep the oil from making it to the city of Red Deer, which uses the river as its primary water source.Read the Entire report from the Globe and Mail Here