STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Tar Sands – the new toxic investment

Posted by mhudema on September 17, 2008

Environment: Tar sands – the new toxic investment

Report warns against oil industry’s equivalent of the sub-prime mortgage crisis

Shell and BP have been warned by investors that their involvement in unconventional energy production such as Canada’s oil sands could turn out to be the industry’s equivalent of the sub-prime lending that poisoned the banking sector and triggered the current financial crisis.

The criticism came as a report was released yesterday warning of the potential financial risks of tar sands, and members of the UK Social Investment Forum met in London to consider a Co-op Investments campaign on halting oil industry involvement in the carbon-intensive oil projects.

The report, BP and Shell, Rising Risks in Tar Sands Investment, co-authored by Greenpeace and fellow campaign group Platform, argues that oil majors are trying to make up a shortfall in conventional reserves by an irresponsible dash to extract oil from bitumen and other sources.

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US Fuel Law Bans Tar Sands

Posted by mhudema on September 16, 2008

Alberta blindsided by U.S. fuel law
Ottawa, province must work together to protect our interests on Capitol Hill
Paula Simons
The Edmonton Journal

The U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act passed last December, without a fuss on this side of the border.

Yet Section 526 of the 822-page piece of legislation should have set Canadian alarm bells ringing. The section forbids any federal agency — such as the Defense Department or the U.S. Postal Service — from buying “synthetic” fuel from non-conventional sources for any “mobility-related” uses.

The section was authored by Congressman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and chair of the House of Representatives committee on oversight and government reform.

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Big Oil Rejects Wetlands Policy

Posted by mhudema on September 16, 2008

Oilsands firms balk at wetlands policy
‘No net-loss’ rule could cost oil producers billions
Kelly Cryderman
Calgary Herald

Two major industry associations representing oilsands producers are refusing to support key tenets of a long-awaited plan to protect Alberta’s wetlands, citing concerns about rigid rules and restoration costs that could stretch to $1 billion and beyond.

Environmental groups say they have been blindsided by the decision.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize how critical wetlands are,” said Danielle Droitsch, executive director of Water Matters, a Canmore-based environmental group.

Rules to protect the province’s disappearing wetlands — key to both healthy water supplies and wildlife — are long overdue, say environmentalists and other industry groups that are members of the wetland policy project team.

“While we’ve been negotiating this policy for three years, the Alberta government has been licensing (oilsands) operations in the absence of a policy,” Droitsch said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Poll: Albertans want a healthy environment

Posted by mhudema on September 15, 2008

Albertans torn between resource riches, protecting environment
Kelly Cryderman
Canwest News Service

CALGARY — Albertans are torn between wanting to reap the full benefits of their natural resource wealth and protecting the environment, a new survey suggests.

“They’re very concerned about the environment, but they don’t want to mess around with the economy,” says Leger Marketing pollster Marc Tremblay.

More than half the Albertans surveyed in the poll for the Calgary Herald – 58 per cent – said governments should take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – even if it means limiting economic development or eliminating jobs.

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Fort Chip to World: SOS

Posted by mhudema on September 15, 2008

Fort Chip to world: SOS

Climate change, water policy and aboriginal health. Three issues that should be atop the election agenda. Three issues that start with the oil sands.

Canadians are dying. Our government is doing nothing about it. Will it take world attention to end this injustice?

That’s what some residents of Fort Chipewyan, the small northern Alberta town at the mouth of Lake Athabasca, have concluded, starting a campaign for an oil sands moratorium that they plan to take across North America and Europe, until health and water concerns are addressed.

Residents in Fort Chipewyan, Alta., say they saw this fish, seen in this Aug. 15 photo, caught from Lake Athabasca the previous week. (Courtesy of Ling Wang)

Residents in Fort Chipewyan, Alta., say they saw this fish, seen in this Aug. 15 photo, caught from Lake Athabasca the previous week. (Courtesy of Ling Wang)

Fort Chip, an aboriginal community of 1200, has received increasing attention due to the high levels of cancer in the community. Dr. John O’Connor, a fly-in doctor first raised the issue publicly in 2005, noting the unusually high levels of a rare bile duct cancer, but was soon silenced by Health Canada and reprimanded by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta for causing “undue alarm”. Only last December was he finally cleared. Read the rest of this entry »

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Abandon Tarsands says Investor

Posted by mhudema on September 15, 2008

Abandon oil sands, urges big investor

One of Britain’s biggest investors will launch a campaign this week to persuade Shell and BP to drop their plans for heavy investment in oil sands and shale projects in North America.

Co-operative Asset Management is concerned that the huge environmental costs of producing crude from oil sands or shale could change the economics of these so-called ‘unconventional’ fuel sources, putting the oil companies and their investors at risk of a huge wasted investment. Read the rest of this entry »

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More Birds Die in Alberta

Posted by mhudema on September 10, 2008

Alberta oil leak kills 300 birds
By BILL KAUFMANN — Sun Media

Crude oil leaked from an untapped well in southeastern Alberta has killed up to 300 birds, sparking outrage among environmental critics.

The leak of 60 to 90 barrels of sweet heavy crude oil from a suspended well at CFB Suffield, 200 km southeast of Calgary, has killed hundreds of birds, said David Inkstrup, a spokesman for the federal Canadian Wildlife Service.

Drilled in 2005 but never put into production, the well is licensed to Calgary-based Harvest Energy Trust.

The latest mass death of birds is part of a disturbing trend which governments are neglecting to halt, said Greenpeace Canada spokesman Mike Hudema.

“It’s imperative there be enough people in the field to make sure these kinds of mishaps don’t occur,” said Hudema. “There seems to be an environmental incident in Alberta every week.”

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More Birds Dead in Alberta

Posted by mhudema on September 10, 2008

Alberta oil spill kills hundreds of birds

With a report from The Canadian Press

CALGARY — Alberta’s oil and gas industry is again in the environmental dock, as a spill at an oil well in the province has killed up to 500 ducks and swallows, according to reports from the scene.

The birds died after landing in the spill, which was found Monday at an out-of-service conventional oil well in the southwest corner of CFB Suffield, in southeastern Alberta. The well is operated by Calgary-based Harvest Energy Trust.

The new deaths have occurred at a bad time for Canadian oil companies, whose public image was hit earlier this year when 500 ducks and other waterfowl strayed into a waste pond at the Syncrude Canada Ltd. oil sands facility. Pictures of those oil-covered birds made international headlines, as environmental groups used the incident to illustrate the perceived hazards resulting from oil sands development.

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Time to Halt the Sands

Posted by mhudema on September 10, 2008

Oil Sands Production should be Halted Immediately

Oil Snads Tailing Ponds - disaster waiting to happen

As part of the process to separate the bitumen from sand, large amounts of waste liquid, tailings, is produced. These tailings are poured into huge diked ponds. If allowed to continue, current and proposed tailings ponds would cover up to 220 square kilometres! The companies admit that left on there own, the silt will not settle in the ponds for up to 100 years. Should any pond’s dike break, it would create an environment disaster of which the world has never seen before.

In addition, history as shown that the companies responsible for creating an Ducks killed in the Oil Snads Tailing Pondsenvironmental hazard, are no where to be seen when it’s time for a cleanup. The Alberta government requires the oil sand companies to estimate the cost to reclaim the ponds and put the money aside. They have estimated it would cost $10,000 hectare. Syncrude’s reported reclamation costs for the one pond they have reclaimed, averaged nearly $47,000 per hectare. Who’s going to make up the shortfall?

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Target Tar Sands

Posted by mhudema on September 10, 2008

Layton targets tar sands
GLORIA GALLOWAY
Globe and Mail Update
September 8, 2008 at 7:04 PM EDT
FORT SMITH, NWT — The plane carrying New Democrat Leader Jack Layton and his NDP entourage swooped over the Alberta tar sands Monday to show vast expanses of northern wilderness despoiled by development.

Ponds filled with chemicals that remain from oil extraction, forest that have criss-crossed with strips that have been cleared of trees, mines that rise out of nowhere.

Linda Duncan, the environmental advocate who is running for the New Democrats in Edmonton-Strathcona, offered a running description of the devastation below. Wildlife has been displaced, she said, and ground water has been drained.

In Fort Smith, more than 300 kilometres north of the tar sands that lie outside Fort McMurray, Alta., people fear the chemicals they say may be flowing their way.

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