Environmentalists’ report to call for Ottawa to act on oil sands
Posted by mhudema on February 15, 2008
From Friday’s Globe and Mail
February 15, 2008 at 5:19 AM EST
From acid rain falling in Saskatchewan to toxic pollution spewing from Ontario oil refineries, a report to be released this morning by Toronto-based Environmental Defence calls on Ottawa to act where Alberta will not.
The environmentalists will be joined by two Alberta native leaders, who will describe first hand how oil sands pollution is affecting fish and water on their traditional lands.
Titled Canada’s Toxic Tar Sands, the detailed report argues oil sands projects are violating existing Canadian laws such as the Fisheries Act.
“Few Canadians know that Canada is home to one of the world’s largest dams and it is built to hold toxic waste from just one Tar Sands operation,” Rick Smith, the executive director of Environmental Defence, writes in the report’s introduction. “No matter where you live in Canada, your desire to tackle global warming is being held hostage by the Tar Sands.”
The heightened rhetoric from environmentalists comes in the midst of a provincial election in Alberta, with a federal campaign expected to follow shortly.
In Alberta, where oil sands development drives the supercharged economy, the recently announced plan for controlling emissions was widely panned by environmentalists. The federal government is promising to release new pollution rules shortly and is contemplating the imposition of more stringent requirements for Alberta’s oil and gas sector.
The stark tone from environmentalists is in contrast to a review panel report released jointly last year by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
The panel was asked to review Imperial Oil’s application for the Kearl Oil Sands Project near Fort McMurray. The panel concluded “the project is not likely to result in significant adverse environmental effects.” However, it did warn that future projects may not get the green light.