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Archive for May 7th, 2008

Will duck disaster kill Alberta’s golden goose?

Posted by mhudema on May 7, 2008

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Presented by

Gary Lamphier,  Canwest News Service Published: Tuesday, May 06, 2008

EDMONTON — It’s not really about the ducks.

Awful as it was, the grisly deaths of some 500 birds last week in a toxic Syncrude tailings pond doesn’t hold a candle to the endless parade of human horror stories that unfold each day in Darfur, Zimbabwe and dozens of other hellholes around the globe.

You want tragedy? Look around. We’ve got a planet full of it.

But that’s beside the point. The point is that the Great Duck Disaster happened at all in an industry, a province – and a country – that must surely hold itself to a higher standard of environmental stewardship, if for no other reason than craven economic self-interest.

For once in my life, I actually find myself in agreement with Mike Hudema and his colleagues at Greenpeace, whom I usually lambaste for spinning tall tales about the oilsands’ contribution to carbon emissions.

Those dead ducks are now a vivid symbol of the collective failure of both the Alberta government and of Syncrude, operator of the northern Alberta mine and its tailings pond, and one of the industry’s most visible and influential players.

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