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Posts Tagged ‘alberta government’

Alberta Government Back Pedals on Role of CCS in Tar Sands

Posted by mhudema on November 25, 2008

Alberta reaction mixed to questions about carbon capture technology

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 | 10:25 AM MT

Senior Alberta government cabinet ministers expressed different opinions Monday on what effect carbon capture technology would have on reducing pollution from the oilsands industry in light of internal government documents that call that technology into question.

Previously secret ministerial briefing notes obtained by CBC News under freedom of information legislation said only a small percentage of carbon dioxide released by mining the oilsands can be captured and injected underground for storage.

The briefing notes are based on the findings of a joint Canada-Alberta task force on carbon capture and storage.

“Never has been arguments been made that this was any kind of panacea,” Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner said in response Monday. “There are opportunities for carbon capture and storage in Alberta. Those opportunities lie to some degree in oilsands.”

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Oil Pressure: the fight to stop the tar sands

Posted by mhudema on November 9, 2008

Oil pressure

What happens in Northern Alberta is no longer a provincial issue.
Now the world is watching — the oilsands have gone global

You either loved it or hated it last week when Maude Barlow, chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, compared Alberta’s oilsands mines to the bleak, desolate landscape of Mordor ruled by the Dark Lord in the fictional trilogy Lord of the Rings.


Greenpeace activists suspended a massive protest banner at a Syncrude tailings pond north of Fort McMurray in July. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dirty Business: The Tar Sands of Alberta and Toxic Waste

Posted by mhudema on September 25, 2008

Dirty Business: The Tar Sands of Alberta and Toxic Waste

Dirty Business
The Tar Sands of Alberta and Toxic Waste

By Andrew Nikiforuk; September, 21 2008 – Znet

Fred McDonald, a Métis trapper and storyteller extraordinaire, often questioned the reasoning and science behind the proliferation of toxic ponds and end-pit lakes. Before he died in 2007 of kidney failure, McDonald lived in Fort McKay, an Aboriginal community 72 kilometres north of Fort Saskatchewan. The stench of hydrocarbons from the surrounding mines often hangs heavily in the air there, and in 2006, an ammonia release from a Syncrude facility hospitalized more than 20 children.

On a fall day in 2006, McDonald sat in his kitchen, sipping a glass of rat root juice (“It’s good for everything,” he told me) and breathing through an oxygen tube. The day before, he had spent several hours on a dialysis machine. McDonald’s kidneys were failing but not his mind. He recalled the days when Tar Island was a good place to fish and hunt. (Tar Island was so named by local Cree and Métis after the bitumen that often oozed down its banks. In the late 1960s, Suncor transformed the island into a tailings pond, the first in the tar sands.) “It always had moose on it. We loved that island. We are slowly losing everything.”

McDonald was born on the river, and he had trapped, fished, farmed and worked for the oil companies. He fondly remembered the 1930 and 1940s, when Syrian fur traders exchanged pots and pans for muskrat and beaver furs along the Athabasca River. Families lived off the land then and had feasts of rabbit. They netted jackfish, pickerel and whitefish all winter long. “Everyone walked or paddled, and the people were healthy,” McDonald said. “No one travels that river anymore. There is nothing in that river. It’s polluted. Once you could dip your cup and have a nice cold drink from that river, and now you can’t.”

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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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Target Tar Sands

Posted by mhudema on September 10, 2008

Layton targets tar sands
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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Tar Sands Hit Quebec

Posted by mhudema on September 10, 2008

Tar-sands pipeline will undo Quebec’s work on environment
Voters should press governments to force polluters to reduce emissions

Quebec was one of the first provinces to show leadership on tackling global warming. It is now pursuing more efficient vehicles, has a carbon tax at the fuel wholesale level, and is joining other jurisdictions in a cap-and-trade system to control greenhouse-gas emissions.

It’s a shame that this progress is being undone by the tar sands.

The tar sands are already holding Quebec and the rest of Canada hostage on global warming, and now for the first time Quebecers will be asked to aid and abet the hostage-takers by routing tar sands oil into and through Quebec.

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Dirty Oil could Bake the Planet

Posted by mhudema on July 31, 2008

‘Unconventional oil not sustainable’


A report on extracting oil from oil sands and oil shale says the methods are environmentally and economically unsustainable and will undermine efforts to combat global warming because of the increased levels of atmospheric CO2 that is produced during production.

According to the World Wildlife Fund and Manchester-based Co-operative Financial Services, oil companies are increasingly looking to exploit new oil sources, previously deemed uncommercial, to meet world demand.

However, the extraction of oil from oil sands and oil shale creates up to eight times as many emissions as conventional oil production does. It also involves three times as much water to produce a barrel of oil and involves forest clearance.

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Greenpeace goes into Belly of the Beast

Posted by mhudema on July 25, 2008

Brazen protesters tag Syncrude pond
Greenpeace activists ticketed for trespassing on oilsands site
Alexandra Zabjek
The Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON – A new chapter in activism against Alberta’s oilsands was opened Thursday when a group of protesters entered Syncrude’s Aurora mine site north of Fort McMurray and unfurled banners on the edge of a controversial tailings pond.

“To actually go onto the (oilsands) sites themselves, that’s a new thing and I think we can expect to see more of that in the future as greater awareness is brought to what’s going on up north,” said Paul Joosse, a University of Alberta PhD student who studies environmental social movements.

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