No Balance on Tar Sands
Posted by mhudema on June 11, 2008
Prime Minister Stephen Harper often talks about finding the right balance between economic growth and environmental protection.
But Harper put growth well ahead of the environment last week when he gave the green light to Imperial Oil’s proposed $8 billion Kearl tar-sands project, which is predicted to create 3.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually – equivalent to putting another 800,000 cars on the road.
The project was stalled in March by the federal court, which ruled that a federal-provincial environmental review panel that recommended approval had failed to justify its views.
Following the court decision, the federal government then sent the court’s concerns back to the review panel and asked it to elaborate on its position that the project would not harm the environment.
The panel quickly did so, and the Harper government just as quickly endorsed its revised report, thereby removing the last obstacle to the project. In so doing, Harper could not have sent a clearer message. As far as he is concerned, it’s full steam ahead for the Alberta tar sands, the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. As for the imperative of fighting climate change, it is just as clear that his government is working at a snail’s pace.
That is the Prime Minister’s idea of balance.