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Two First Nations file lawsuit against Husky for 2016 oil spill

Two First Nations in Saskatchewan have filed a lawsuit against Husky Energy for a 2016 oil spill in the North Saskatchewan River.

Information obtained by Prince Albert radio station CKBI claims both the James Smith Cree Nation and the Cumberland House Cree Nation are suing the company for millions after their drinking water was contaminated as a result of the spill.

The James Smith Cree Nation alleges the company was advised to take remediation steps after 90,000 of the roughly 200,000 litres of oil leaked into the river. However, in a statement obtained by CKBI Husky “failed or refused to perform remediation steps to mitigate, limit or remove the adverse impact” of the spill.

North Battleford, Melfort and Prince Albert had to shut down their river intakes and find another way to supply water to residents for two months as a result of the spill.

The statement also alleges that Husky failed to provide updates on the cleanup, as well as any data related to the spill. James Smith is reportedly asking for damages to make up for their communities lost ability to hunt, fish and enjoy the river.

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Cumberland House Cree Nation is requiring Husky to “immediately and fully, and at their own expense, remove or remediate oil in the water, soil, vegetation, and debris on the reserve lands.” Similar to what James Smith is asking for in addition to covering the out of pocket expenses the band made during the cleanup period.

The total cleanup cost for the spill was estimated to be at $107 million and according to a report issued by Husky, the pipeline break was caused by ground movement.

No allegations by either First Nation have been proved in court.

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