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Syncrude says 200+ birds dead after toxic landing; blames freezing-rain storm

Tue Oct 26, 9:11 PM
By Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

EDMONTON - More than 200 birds died after they landed on gooey, toxic oilsands tailings ponds in northern Alberta, just days after oil giant Syncrude agreed to pay more than $3 million in a similar case where 1,600 ducks died.

Syncrude appears to have been hardest hit Monday night, with 230 birds needing to be put down after seeking refuge on the company's Mildred Lake tailings pond, which contains a thick brew of poisonous oilsands byproduct.

By Tuesday evening, Shell and Suncor had also reported a "handful" of bird landings and the province had opened a regional investigation, said Alberta Environment spokeswoman Cara Tobin. Suncor issued a news release saying "a small number of oiled birds" were euthanized at the order of provincial officials but did not specify exactly how many birds had to be killed.

Shell officials could not be reached for comment. ...

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