STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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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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Dene Water Worries

Posted by mhudema on July 15, 2008

Dene water worries
Brodie Thomas
Northern News Services
Published Monday, July 14, 2008

TETLIT’ZHEH/FORT MCPHERSON – Concern over the future of waterresources took centre stage at the 38th annual Dene National Assemblyin Fort McPherson last week.

Before the meetings even got underway, Dene chiefs had met with Premier Floyd Roland on Monday afternoon in Inuvik.

‘There was a lot of discussion on waterthat comes from the border. We don’t yet have an agreement with othergovernments,’ said Sahtu Grand Chief Frank Andrew.

With at least three conferences onwater planned in the next six months, including a national waterconference to be held in Yellowknife this November, some chiefs werecalling for a public inquiry into how the Alberta tar sands operationsare using water from the Athabasca River.

‘We have to make this as big orbigger than the Berger inquiry. We drink water. We don’t drink oil,’said Tlicho Grand Chief George Mackenzie.

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Posted by mhudema on July 15, 2008

Book Review: Blue Gold

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Put on the Brakes, Before we lose it all

Posted by mhudema on July 2, 2008

Greenpeace website takes aim at Alberta oilsands

by James Emery
Wednesday July 02, 2008

Greenpeace has launched a new web site that takes aim at Alberta’s oil sands development and says it can save tourists the trip of having to see the pollution and toxins it produces for themselves.

TravellingAlberta.ca was launched June 24 and is a tongue-in-cheek travel site that uses humour to try and communicate their message of how destructive they believe the oilsands development is to the environment.

Techniques include using photographs of people participating in various vacation activities such as waterskiing or sand castles being built by children — except tar is prevalent in the photos.

The site was launched “in reaction to the provincial government announcing a $25-million public relations campaign to try and tell the world that the environmental and social problems associated with the tar sands don’t exist,” said Mike Hudema, tar sands campaigner for Greenpeace Canada.
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Turning Water into Oil

Posted by mhudema on June 19, 2008

Turning Water into Oil

Posted on June 18, 2008.

This Dilbert comic exaggerates the absurdity of some people when it comes to obtaining sources of energy. Dilbert’s boss couldn’t be serious about wanting to turn water into oil. As Dilbert points out, it would turn the world into an uninhabitable wasteland in the long run. However, the idea of sacrificing water for oil isn’t that far-fetched. This article explains that for each barrel of oil produced from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, between two and 4.5 barrels of water are needed. Water is essential for extracting oil from the tar sands. The Alberta government has approved the withdrawal of 119.5 billion gallons of water, mainly from the Athabasca River, for tar sands extraction. Extraction companies are required to return only 10 billion gallons of water to the river.

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