STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Library Fines Higher than Tar Sand Enforcement

Posted by mhudema on July 4, 2008

Government records show close to no environmental regulation enforcement in Alberta’s Tar Sands


    TORONTO, July 2 /CNW/ - After a recent spate of 'greening' campaigns by
government and industry for the Tar Sands, information obtained by
ForestEthics shows government is failing to enforce environmental regulations,
giving oil sands companies a free ride.
    Oil companies operating in the Tar Sands were fined only $249,000 in
2006, despite numerous environmental violations including 240 air quality
exceedances by just one company, Suncor. By comparison, library fines for
Alberta's largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, totaled more than $4 million
that same year, in 2006, or sixteen times more than what all the oil companies
were fined for their environmental violations.

    "The Tar Sands is the largest fossil fuel project on the planet, home to
toxic tailing ponds and Canada's worst air quality, and yet Albertans are
fined more for returning their library books late," said Gillian McEachern,
senior campaigner with ForestEthics. "Government and industry are saying the
Tar Sands are controlled by strict environmental standards, but the
government's own records show that's clearly not the case."
    Alberta environmental enforcement records for 2007 show Alberta issued
two Environmental Protection Orders against Syncrude and Suncor and one
Environmental Enforcement Order against Suncor. None were prosecuted or fined.
    In 2005, Alberta issued one Environmental Protection Order to Syncrude
and one warning letter to Devon and Suncor. However, that same year Suncor had
30 air quality exceedances and showed an increasing trend of 240 air quality
exceedances and greater volume of spills and leaks in 2006, but none were
fined or prosecuted.
    Federal environmental regulation covering oil companies operating in the
Tar Sands fares no better. Not one charge has been laid against an oil sands
company operating in the Tar Sands under the Fisheries Act between 1988 and
2005, despite production now exceeding 1.3 million barrels per day.
    "The Federal and Alberta governments either lack the capacity or are
willfully ignoring the need to enforce environmental laws in the Tar Sands.
The Tar Sands look more and more like a safe haven for the world's largest and
most profitable oil companies to do as they please," added McEachern.
    ForestEthics is calling on the federal and Alberta governments to clean
up the Tar Sands.

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