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Archive for June 25th, 2008

Hundreds of Fish found Dead in Fort McMurray

Posted by mhudema on June 25, 2008

Wed, June 25, 2008
UPDATED: 2008-06-25 02:46:27 MST
By THE CANADIAN PRESS

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FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Two Alberta government departments are investigating what caused the death of hundreds of fish in the Poplar Creek Reservoir north of Fort McMurray.

The dead fish were discovered last week at the sprawling reservoir, which was built in the early 1970s to divert water around an oilsands mine owned by Syncrude Canada Ltd.

Although the Syncrude mine is no longer active, the waterway is located only a few hundred metres from a Suncor oilsands construction site.

But a spokesman for Alberta’s environment ministry says there’s no evidence of contamination coming from the Suncor site, so investigators are still trying to find out what killed the fish.

Alberta Environment continues to investigate the death of roughly 500 ducks and other waterfowl that landed on a toxic Syncrude tailings pond at the end of April.

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Damage spreads

Posted by mhudema on June 25, 2008

Less than 100 kilometres southeast of Edmonton, me and my neighbours’ farms and homes are being threatened by the proposed Dodds Roundhill coal gasification project.

To provide energy to these upgraders, Sherritt International and their funding partners — the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and Epcor — plan to build one or more coal gasification plants to produce synthetic gas.

The accompanying strip mine would, over its life, occupy 312 square kilometres (31,000 hectares) of prime agricultural land. The proposed plant site and nearly all of the mine is in Premier Ed Stelmach’s riding. Along with these types of development come pipelines, power lines and other infrastructure that interfere with farming practices and have a negative impact on landowners’ quality of life. The energy industry has a huge economic impact in Alberta, but are the long- term costs starting to outweigh the short-term benefits?

J . W. (Bill) Sears, Tofield

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Upgraders need too much water

Posted by mhudema on June 25, 2008

Upgraders need too much water
The Edmonton Journal

Re: “Upgrader Alley pause urged; Think-tank wants environmental rules set before new permits,” The Journal, June 16.

The biggest travesty relating to Upgrader Alley originates at the Gold Bar waste-water treatment plant in Edmonton. It is there that Epcor, the city-owned utility, plans to take 26 million litres of reclaimed water per day — an amount equal to the daily water consumption of the city of Edmonton. This water is presently returned to the river for use downstream. If the plan goes ahead, no water will be returned to the river by Epcor.

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Posted by mhudema on June 25, 2008

Green isn’t Suncor’s colour

executive director, Greenpeace Canada

Suncor CEO Rick George is correct that being green is good for a company (It’s Not Easy Being Green, But It’s Good Business – Report on Business, June 23).

Unfortunately, Suncor isn’t even close to being an environmental leader. Recently, it released its “progress” report. Some progress: It showed that Suncor’s absolute greenhouse gas emissions and its overall emission intensity had increased in 2007 from 2006. Suncor’s emissions are projected to double between 2007 and 2012, for a whopping 520-per-cent increase since 1990. That will make the tar sands, and Suncor in particular, a major factor in Canada failing dismally to achieve its Kyoto emissions-reduction target.

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Oil sands industry faces rough road

Posted by mhudema on June 25, 2008

International Herald Tribune
Oil sands industry faces rough road in reaching out to green groups
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CALGARY, Alberta: Oil sands producers in Canada have a rough road ahead persuading environmentalists and an increasingly concerned public that they are serious about protecting the environment while investing billions of dollars in new projects.

The industry’s lobbying group and several chief executives began a new communications campaign this week aimed at countering a full-court press by environmentalists over the impact of oil sands development on air, land, water and local communities.

Top executives admit they have come up short responding to concerns over their operations and explaining the progress they say they have made in areas like investing in carbon capture technology and land reclamation.

“As a result, we’ve been a bit overtaken by the other side of that equation, which resulted in what we think is an unbalanced view of our industry, so we do need pick up the ball and tell our side of the story,” Marcel Coutu, chief executive of Canadian Oil Sands Trust, said Tuesday.

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Obama May Say No to the Tar Sands

Posted by mhudema on June 25, 2008

Obama’s eyes on oilsands
Democratic candidate’s clean-oil vow threatens Alberta
Sheldon Alberts
Canwest News Service
Supporters greet Barack Obama in Las Vegas yesterday. According to a U.S.-Canada relations expert, it seems the presumed Democratic presidential nominee wants to eliminate 'dirty' oil sources such as the oilsands. 'He is very aware of them and the process that's generating them.'
CREDIT: Reuters
Supporters greet Barack Obama in Las Vegas yesterday. According to a U.S.-Canada relations expert, it seems the presumed Democratic presidential nominee wants to eliminate ‘dirty’ oil sources such as the oilsands. ‘He is very aware of them and the process that’s generating them.’

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama took aim at the Alberta oilsands yesterday, declaring he would break America’s addiction to “dirty, dwindling, and dangerously expensive” oil if he is elected U.S. president

Jason Grumet, Obama’s senior energy adviser, told reporters it’s an “open question” whether the oilsands fits Obama’s plan to shift the U.S. sharply away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

“If it turns out that the only way to produce those resources would be at a significant penalty to climate change, then we don’t believe that those resources are going to play a growing role in the long-term future,” said Grumet.

The remarks amount to a shot across the bow of Alberta’s oilsands industry, which is planning to boost production from 1.3 million barrels a day to 3.5 million barrels over the next decade.

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Canada’s Layton Urges End to Guaranteed U.S. Access to Oil, Gas

Posted by mhudema on June 25, 2008

By Theophilos Argitis

June 24 (Bloomberg) — Canadian New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton, head of one of three opposition blocs in Parliament, called for an end to preferential U.S. access to the country’s energy supplies.

Canada, the biggest exporter of oil and gas to the U.S., should renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to repeal provisions that guarantee a secure supply of energy to the country’s southern neighbor, Layton said in an interview.

Management of Canada’s energy riches may be a dominant issue in elections expected as early as this year, amid concerns about regional economic disparities, gasoline prices and the environmental toll of oil projects. Scrapping the provision would allow supplies to be redirected to Canadian consumers if there’s an “energy crunch,” Layton said.

Nafta, which came into effect in 1994, “locks us into an engagement of our energy to meet American needs, essentially putting in the back seat our own national needs,” Layton, 57, said in his Parliament Hill office in Ottawa. “No other country has allowed itself to be handcuffed that way.”

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More from the Denial Machine

Posted by mhudema on June 25, 2008

By JEREMY LOOME, EDMONTON SUN

“Unfair” environmental criticism that is mounting in the U.S. against the oilsands could cause an uncertain economic future for Alberta, Finance Minister Iris Evans said yesterday.

Evans said she won’t predict the double-digit multibillion-dollar surplus many expect here next year due to high oil prices, noting the province is waging political war against anti-dirty oil legislation in the U.S. that could impact its ability to develop an oilsands-based economy.

HOPING FOR HELP

And she said she’s hoping for help from states that also benefit from upgrading bitumen, the oilsand/tar mix that is refined into synthetic crude.

“It offends me deeply to hear people say ‘dirty oil,’ ” she said. “When they go to the gas tank and fill up with the oil, they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a drop of oil out of our oilsands and any other oil they’ll purchase anywhere else. So that’s highly offensive.”
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Dirty Oil: NOT WANTED

Posted by mhudema on June 25, 2008

Albertans defend oilsands after criticism from U. S. mayors; Americans urge
municipalities to ban use of gas in vehicles because process produces too
much carbon dioxide;

Byline: BY BOB WEBER, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Dateline: EDMONTON

Alberta politicians are rising to defend the province’s main economic driver
after U. S. mayors passed a resolution urging American cities to stop using
fuel derived from the oilsands.

“I wish I could talk to all of them one-on-one,” Finance Minister Iris
Evans said Tuesday.

“I continually am reminded that people in Alberta — as well as certainly
people in the United States — do not really comprehend the good things that
have been done in Alberta and that’s an elephant in the room, that lack of
knowledge.”

On Monday, U. S. mayors passed a resolution at their annual conference in
Miami urging cities to ban the use of oilsands-derived gasoline in municipal
vehicles.

They took direct aim at Alberta’s oilsands, pointing out that developing a
barrel of oilsands oil produces three times as much carbon dioxide as
conventional oil. The resolution also alleges oilsands development damages
Canada’s boreal forest and slows the transition to cleaner energy sources in
the United States.

Energy Minister Mel Knight promised Monday that Alberta will soon announce
major strides in capturing and storing greenhouse gas emissions from the
oilsands.

On Tuesday, other politicians leapt to his side.

Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier invited a delegation of his American
counterparts to visit his city to learn more about oilsands production.

“Reducing greenhouse gas is an important issue, but it requires a
comprehensive, thoughtful and realistic approach,” he said.

“This resolution suggests a lack of understanding and we hope by extending
that invitation we can help set the record straight.”

Echoing the provincial government’s position, he said the mayors should have
focused more on conservation and technological innovation.

“We can pass all the `feel-good’ resolutions that we want, but the reality
of the situation is that production from the oilsands is necessary,” he
said.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach repeated a suggestion he has made before that
his province is a leader in environmental regulation.

“We are the first jurisdiction to put in place emission levies,” he said.

“We’re doing cumulative environmental impact assessments both in the
oilsands and also in the industrial heartland. We’re the only jurisdiction
in Canada to put forward a land-use framework and also our water-for-life
strategy is well ahead of many jurisdictions in North America.”

Evans said emissions per barrel of oil have been reduced by 45 per cent by
the industry since 1990 and that $40 million has been collected from
industries that failed to meet the province’s emissions targets.

“I think we’re doing more than anyone else.”

C 2008 Osprey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved.

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