STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Archive for May 26th, 2008

PR pro advice costs Tories $35K

Posted by mhudema on May 26, 2008

Kelly Cryderman
Calgary Herald

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Alberta government has called in high-priced outside help to quell increasing public concern over the oil industry’s impact on the environment.

Peter Sandman, a prominent American communications expert who bills $650 an hour — and who often works for government, environmental groups and big industrial players, including oil and gas — gave Alberta Environment officials presentations over two days this month on how to better handle regular public meetings and controversies that flare up.

Total cost, including preparation and travel time: $35,000.

“I would hope that it’s not about sharpening their image but it’s more about being more responsive and more transparent,” said Sandman, who is known for advising corporate clients to be more forthright about their failures and weaknesses to engender public trust.

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Tip of Tar Sands Iceberg – Probes grow to 13 in tar sands

Posted by mhudema on May 26, 2008

Oilsand probes grow to 13
Jason Fekete
Calgary Herald

The Alberta government finds itself knee-deep in more than a dozen oilsands-related investigations — including leaks, regulatory breaches and potential health problems — sparking further questions about the ecological costs to tap the resource.

The investigations come as the Stelmach Tories have launched a $25-million, three-year “Branding Alberta” campaign partly aimed at selling the oilsands as environmentally sustainable.

But less than a month after about 500 ducks died on a toxic tailings pond north of Fort McMurray, the provincial government and the oilpatch are facing new questions about one million litres of wastewater contaminated with oil and grease that leaked into the Athabasca River last fall.

“There’s this growing confidence gap between the public and the government,” Liberal environment critic David Swann said Friday. “This has been a government that’s been hands-off.”

Alberta Health and Health Canada are investigating reports of unusually high cancer rates in Fort Chipewyan, an aboriginal community downstream of oilsands projects.

Alberta Environment itself has 13 open investigations related to the oilsands. Three of those involve toxic tailings ponds, of which two are investigations into poor air quality, with the other case being the dead ducks. Read the rest of this entry »

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