STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Archive for March 10th, 2008

Tar Sands: Environmental justice, treaty rights and Indigenous Peoples

Posted by mhudema on March 10, 2008

Clayton Thomas-Müller

Canadian Dimension magazine, March/April 2008

The application of treaty rights as a legal strategy implemented by the First Nations themselves must be the key focus in efforts to challenge Big Oil in Alberta. Resources and effort must be placed into building the knowledge and capacity amongst First Nations and Métis leadership, including grassroots, elders and youth, to engage in both an indigenous-led corporate-finance campaign and in decision-making processes on environment, energy, climate and economic policies related to halting the tar-sands expansion. Canadian policy makers need to understand that there is an inextricable link between indigenous rights and energy and climate impacts.

The Tar Sands: What, How, For Whom?

The tar sands lie beneath more than 141,000 square kilometres (54,000 square miles) of northern Alberta forest. In 2003, thirty square kilometres (160 square miles) of land had been disturbed by tar-sands development. By the summer of 2006, that number had grown to 2,000 square kilometres (772 square miles) — almost five-fold within three years. These tar sands are the second-largest oil deposit in the world, bigger then Iraq, Iran, or Russia, and exceeded only by Saudi Arabia. If current, approved projects go forward, 3,400 square kilometres (1,312 square miles) will be strip-mined, destroying a total area as large as the state of Florida. The current process limit of 2.7 million barrels of oil per day is estimated to increase to six million barrels per day by 2030. Current and future high oil prices make the extraction and processing of bitumen very profitable.

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