STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Dead loon found days after duck disaster

Posted by mhudema on May 6, 2008

By KATIE SCHNEIDER, SUN MEDIA

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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.

Alberta Environment spokeswoman Kim Capstick confirmed the discovery and said the department is investigating.

“We did get a complaint about loons on a ConocoPhillips site … the Surmont Oilsands Project,” she said.

“One loon was found dead, but the cause of death is undetermined, and two other loons have been taken to veterinary centres because (they were) stressed.”

While the ducks died on Syncrude’s tailing pond, the loons were found on a recycled water pond, she said.

“It looks (like) this is a completely different situation,” she said.

Capstick said birds often visit the ConocoPhillips pond, but scarecrows are in place to keep them away.

“It is unusual they are sticking around,” she said, adding ConocoPhillips is co-operating with the investigation.

“We are concerned … and are taking this very seriously,” company senior vice-president Matt Fox said in a statement. “We’re working with the appropriate authorities to manage this situation.”

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