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Archive for May 6th, 2008

Alberta minister rejects inquiry into duck deaths

Posted by mhudema on May 6, 2008



EDMONTON — The Alberta government is rejecting calls for a public inquiry into the death of 500 ducks that landed on a toxic oil sands tailings pond.

Greenpeace activist Mike Hudema stood on the steps of the legislature Monday and demanded an independent review into last week’s waterfowl disaster in northern Alberta.

“No amount of well meaning words … and not even a week’s worth of full-page apology ads are going to solve these problems,” Mr. Hudema said. “Only truthful answers, hard questions and meaningful action will do that.”

Syncrude ran such ads in several major newspapers on the weekend.

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Scenes From the Tar Wars

Posted by mhudema on May 6, 2008

As Canada scrambles to dig up some of the world’s dirtiest oil, a bush doctor tracks mysterious diseases, poisoned rivers, and shattered lives.” />

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At a small airport in the northern Alberta town of Fort McMurray, a rickety, single-engine Cessna hurtles off the ground with a roar. Dr. John O’Connor ignores the shuddering fuselage, the tail wiggle, the steep climb above the spruce trees at the end of the runway. For O’Connor, a bush doctor who has tended to some of Canada’s most remote Native American communities for more than a decade, this October morning is the start of a routine commute. In his fleece vest and green fedora, the small, middle-aged Irishman looks simultaneously rugged and elfin. A plastic tray of fruit salad vibrates beneath his seat, a gift for locals who are used to subsisting on moose, pickerel, and muskrat.

Outside, a carpet of boreal forest unfurls at the southern edge of town. Our plane flies past suburban subdivisions, freshly paved culs-de-sac, and what O’Connor says is the largest trailer park in North America. As we head north, tracking the steep banks of the Athabasca River, the forest returns. And then the trees quickly vanish, along with everything else, into miles and miles of rolling hills of sand. “The sand blows around like you wouldn’t believe,” O’Connor shouts over the propeller buzz. “Drive from Fort McMurray, and you will encounter what looks like a sandstorm.”

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Dead loon found days after duck disaster

Posted by mhudema on May 6, 2008


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Greenpeace officials are again crying foul after a loon was found dead and two others in distress at the ConocoPhillips tar sands site, the second wildlife incident in the oilsands in a week.

Mike Hudema, a Greenpeace tar sands campaigner, said it causes him concern an anonymous tip received Saturday afternoon comes about a week after 500 ducks were found dead on a tailings pond at the Syncrude oilsands site.

“It’s definitely a concern for us … the fact that the death of birds and wildlife in some of these sites is not a one-time occurrence,” he said, adding the incident was reported to Greenpeace by a tipster.

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