STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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And worst air quality goes to…

Posted by mhudema on June 2, 2008

Air quality worsening in oilsands area: report
Hanneke Brooymans
Edmonton Journal

Air pollutants that are going down in most parts of Alberta are zooming upward in the province’s oilsands region, according to recent government reports.

The worst of the pollutants, a poisonous gas called hydrogen sulphide, shows the most troublesome trend.

Peak hydrogen sulphide concentrations have increased in the oilsands area by 30 to 175 per cent since 1999, says an Alberta Environment report.

The compound has even occasionally exceeded the air quality guideline set by the government. Meanwhile, in most urban areas, these concentrations are declining.

Alberta Liberal environment critic David Swann said he’s not surprised air quality is deteriorating.

“The huge expansion of development up there is what you would expect to cause increasing emissions and increasing threats to both the environment and human health.”

Swann said the government should put a cap on air pollutants in the region.

The government report notes other pollutants are showing the same trends. Nitrous oxides are going down almost everywhere else, but going up in Fort McMurray and the oilsands region. The story is much the same for sulphur dioxide. Mean annual levels have decreased at most Alberta monitoring stations since 1990, except for some stations in the oilsands area, north of Fort McMurray, the report says.

© The Calgary Herald 2008
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