STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Greenpeace Invades Syncrude

Posted by mhudema on July 25, 2008

Greenpeace Blocks Pipe At Syncrude Oil Sands Waste Pond

Dow Jones

cnnad_createAd(“654903″,””,”200″,”220″);OTTAWA -(Dow Jones)- Environmental protesters blocked a pipe to a waste water pond at Syncrude Canada Ltd.’s oil sands development in northern Alberta, Greenpeace Canada said Thursday, as the group continues to demand a halt to oil sands production.

Shortly after 1 p.m. EDT, 10 activists capped the pipe that discharges toxic waste products into the so-called tailings pond at Syncrude’s Aurora North mine near Fort McMurray, Greenpeace said in a new release.

They also raised a skull-and-crossbones banner over another pipe, and another on the banks of the pond reading “World’s Dirtiest Oil: Stop the Tar Sands.”

The protest won’t affect operations at Canada’s biggest oil sands producer, said a spokeswoman for the Canadian Oil Sands Trust (COS.UN.T), Syncrude’s biggest shareholder and operator.

“My understanding is that it doesn’t,” Siren Fisekci said. “(The capped pipe) is pretty easy to resolve; it’s a symbolic gesture on Greenpeace’s behalf.”

Greenpeace has been pressing Alberta’s government to halt oil sands production, which is forecast to triple by the end of the next decade. Rocketing crude oil prices and increasing problems accessing reserves in other oil-rich nations, such as Russia, have made Alberta’s vast oil sands reserves more attractive.

But the pace of development has triggered growing protests over the industry’s environmental impact. Extracting the sludgy oil sands bitumen is emissions- and energy-intensive, requiring lots of water and natural gas, while involving tearing down chunks of boreal forest and creating the massive tailings ponds.

“Big oil companies are pillaging Alberta’s natural resources,” Mike Hudema, a Greenpeace tar sands campaigner, said in the release. “Today we brought our message to the perpetrators of this environmental crime – it’s time to put the brakes to the tar sands.”

The province’s premier, Ed Stelmach, has repeatedly refused to slow down oil sands development.

Syncrude’s tailings pond garnered worldwide media attention when 500 ducks died after landing on the pond earlier this year. The provincial energy regulator is looking at setting firmer rules for managing the ponds, though it claims the move wasn’t prompted by the incident.

The other partners in the Syncrude consortium are Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO), Petro-Canada (PCZ), ConocoPhillips (COP), Nexen Inc. (NXY), Murphy Oil Corp. ( MUR) and Nippon Oil Corp. (5001.TO) affiliate Mocal Energy Ltd.

-By Hyun Young Lee, Dow Jones Newswires; 613-237-0669; hyunyoung.lee@

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