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Posts Tagged ‘tar sands’

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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Government Fails To Disclose Carbon Captures Limited Role in Tar Sands

Posted by mhudema on November 25, 2008

Secret advice to politicians: oilsands emissions hard to scrub

Briefing document is pessimistic on carbon storage and capture

Last Updated: Monday, November 24, 2008 | 9:49 AM MT Comments400Recommended258

Carbon dioxide emissions from Western Canada's oilsands are set to increase from five per cent to 16 per cent of the national total by 2020 under current plans. Carbon dioxide emissions from Western Canada’s oilsands are set to increase from five per cent to 16 per cent of the national total by 2020 under current plans. (Canadian Press)CBC News has obtained a government document that says reducing greenhouse gases from Western Canada’s oilsands will be much more difficult than some politicians and the industry suggest.

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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

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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US upholds Tar Sands Ban

Posted by mhudema on September 26, 2008

Bid to amend U.S. ‘dirty-oil’ bill fails
Existing legislation could limit business for Alberta’s oilsands
By Dan Healing
Canwest News Service
A U.S. bill would seemingly bar U.S. federal agencies from buying "dirty oil" products - including those originating in the Canadian oilsands. Here, a protest banner hangs over a tailing ponds in northern Alberta.
CREDIT: Greenpeace
A U.S. bill would seemingly bar U.S. federal agencies from buying “dirty oil” products – including those originating in the Canadian oilsands. Here, a protest banner hangs over a tailing ponds in northern Alberta.

CALGARY – A last-ditch effort to amend an energy bill that appears to ban the sale of “dirty oil” products – including those originating in the Canadian oilsands – to U.S. federal government agencies has failed in Washington.

Section 526 of the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 bars U.S. federal agencies such as the military and the postal service from buying alternative fuels if the production creates more greenhouse gases than conventional fuels.

Since it was signed into law last December, opponents have been fighting to repeal or amend it, not so much because they are concerned about Canadian energy exports, but because it appears to counter U.S. Defense Department experiments with coal liquefaction fuels.

Late Wednesday, the U.S. Senate denied an amendment to Section 526 that had been packaged with a Senate authorization bill.

“This is a big step for clean-energy supporters,” said Alberta Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema.

“Especially in a Canadian context, it severely limits the U.S. government’s ability to enter into contracts to get oil from the tarsands because of how large an emitter the tarsands are compared with conventional-oil operations.”

He agreed the bill could also be read to prohibit other non-conventional fuels – possibly even biofuels, depending on how they are produced – unless the section is clarified.

The defeat Wednesday means the end of the battle for this president and this Congress, said Matt Letourneau, spokesman for New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici, the senior Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“This is really largely a problem for the next administration to deal with because of the very real issue of making sure the military has the resources it needs and the ability to purchase what it needs.”

He said the amendment didn’t have a realistic chance of passing the Senate anyway, which is controlled by Democrats, but added that a growing number of Washington politicians in both parties are worried about the section’s implications.

“Our concern would be that when those (fuel) contracts expire, a group could interpret 526 in such a way to say that it prohibits the U.S. from obtaining oil from tarsands, for instance, and then there would be a lawsuit from Greenpeace or whoever else and it would work its way through the courts.

“Meanwhile, our military relies on that fuel and we’re fighting a war.”

More than half of the crude oil produced in Canada comes from the oilsands and that proportion is expected to rise.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and several Canadian politicians have called for clarification of the clause.

© Calgary Herald 2008

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US upholds ban on Tar Sands Oil

Posted by mhudema on September 26, 2008

U.S. Congress upholds restrictions on high-carbon fuels

Last Updated: Thursday, September 25, 2008 | 10:18 PM ET

Mining trucks carry loads of oil-laden sand after being loaded by huge shovels at the Albian Sands oilsands project in Fort McMurray, Alta., in 2005.Mining trucks carry loads of oil-laden sand after being loaded by huge shovels at the Albian Sands oilsands project in Fort McMurray, Alta., in 2005. (Jeff McIntosh/Associated Press)Fuels derived from Alberta’s tarsands could find a tougher market in the United States after Congress decided Thursday to uphold legislation restricting imports of fuels from high-carbon sources.

The decision was celebrated by environmental organizations that have been campaigning against changes to Section 526 of the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Members of Congress have spent the past nine months contemplating whether to repeal or weaken Section 526, which deals with fuels from high-carbon sources such as tarsands oil, liquid coal and oil shale.

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Dead Duck Lake

Posted by mhudema on September 25, 2008

Oilsands: Fowl play

Andrew Nikiforuk
From the September 29, 2008 issue of Canadian Business magazine
On a late July morning, 11 members of Greenpeace did what entrepreneurial activists do best: bold ventures. Armed with bolt cutters, the green crew drove north of Fort McMurray, Alta., severed a chain lock and then broke into Syncrude Canada Ltd.’s Aurora North settling basin, now known to millions around the world as the infamous watery graveyard for 500 migrating ducks. (Locals just call the waste pond “Dead Duck Lake.”)

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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
http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/18878

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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Lawsuit may Stop Tar Sands

Posted by mhudema on September 17, 2008

Following the massive lawsuit filed by the Beaver Lake Cree Nation last month (and the one filed by the Woodland Cree last year), the Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation came forward on June 4th to file their own lawsuit against the Alberta government.

The CPDFN say they weren’t consulted when the government leased away “the heart” of their traditional territory to MEG Energy Corporation for an oilsands (tarsands) project.

Focusing primarily on their Treaty Rights, CPDFN hope the lawsuit will require Alberta to hold ‘meaningful consultations’ so as to protect one of the few remaining places in their Traditional Territory where they can exercise their rights.

See below for a press release from the Chipewyan Dene Prairie First Nation.

First Nation Files Lawsuit Challenging Oilsands Tenure and Regulatory Approval System

EDMONTON, ALBERTA–(June 4, 2008) – Today the Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation (”CPDFN”) filed legal action in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench against the Alberta Government alleging a breach of Alberta’s constitutional duty to consult with the First Nation on MEG Energy Corp.’s Christina Lake Regional Project, Phase 3. This Project is planned to be located in the heart of CPDFN’s Traditional Territory, between Christina Lake and Winifred Lake, the breadbasket of the First Nation.

“Our lakes, our land and the animals and fish we have relied on for thousands of years to support our way of life and cultural values are being destroyed by out-of-control oilsands developments,” said Chief Vern Janvier of CPDFN. “Because our constitutionally-protected rights are at risk in one of the few remaining places in our Traditional Territory where we can exercise them, we’ve asked the Courts to step in before it’s too late.”

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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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