UPDATE: This company has now withdrawn its application for the mine. The Pembina Institute
Canada is facing a decision on the biggest oil
sands mine proposal in almost a decade. Alberta’s Frontier oil sands mine,
proposed by Teck Resources, has gone through a lengthy regulatory process
culminating in a recommended approval from a joint federal-provincial review
panel and is now under consideration by the federal cabinet. A casual observer
might assume that given the potent environmental and economic impacts, this
process would have been comprehensive. Yet, the panel's report, which shares the reasoning behind the decision, is remarkably weak on its consideration of climate impacts.More here.
Some of the world's biggest financial institutions have stopped putting money behind oil production in the Canadian province of Alberta, home to one of the world's most extensive and dirtiest, oil reserves. Story here.
Ft. Chipewyan from the air. Photo by Mark S. Elliott. It’s been more than a dozen years since the metaphorical alarm was first sounded, and yet the residents of Fort Chipewyan still don’t know what’s killing them. Story here.
In the northeast corner of Alberta lies Wood Buffalo National Park. Known for its sheer size and biodiversity, it is Canada’s largest national park and World Heritage Site. Its size and remote location have led many to believe it is untouched by human impacts, but it has sadly been affected by upstream industrial development outside of the Park. It is now additionally threatened by a proposed open-pit oil sands mine just 30-km south of its borders.
If approved, the Teck Frontier oil sands mine would be the largest open-pit mine in North America, with a massive 290 sq-km footprint. This mine would pose serious environmental risks to the approximately 1 million migratory birds that fly over the region, species at risk that depend on the intact boreal habitat, and negatively influence downstream waters on the Athabasca River.
The federal government has a public comment period open until November 24, 2019 to hear what people think of the proposed environmental assessment conditions that Teck would need to meet.
How strong are these conditions? The proposed mitigation measures do very little to address the startling list of impacts from the mine. It is clear that the conditions are inconsistent with a healthy future for our boreal and the communities that depend on the biodiversity of the region.
Want to speak up but unsure about what you will say? Use our public comment guide as a blueprint to your comment. We provide our key concerns about the mine and the proposed conditions to kickstart your comment.
Now is our chance to let the federal government know that this project is a serious danger to our boreal forest and poses risks that cannot be ignored.
Yours in Conservation,
Gillian Chow-Fraser Boreal Program Manager CPAWS Northern Alberta
Wildfires, cigarette smoking and vehicles all emit a potentially harmful compound called isocyanic acid. The substance has been linked to several health conditions, including heart disease and cataracts. Scientists investigating sources of the compound have now identified off-road diesel vehicles in oil sands production in Alberta, Canada, as a major contributor to regional levels of the pollutant. Story here.
A high-profile adviser on renewable energy to the European Union says Canada is making a huge mistake in placing so much emphasis on the oil sands as the key component of the country’s energy policy. Full story here.
Collateral damage from Canada's booming oilsands sector may be irreversible, posing a "significant environmental and financial risk to the province of Alberta," says a secret memorandum prepared for the federal government's top Courtesy of Beautiful Destruction.
It's hardly surprising that Big Oil is already brandishing the latest scientific study on the Alberta oil-sands as a weapon in its crusade to peddle bitumen to the world.
The study was done by a noted Canadian climatologist, Andrew Weaver and a colleague at the University of Victoria.
This is the part Big Oil likes.
If all of the oil-sand's reserves considered "economically viable" were developed, the resulting rise in global temperatures would be "almost undetectable," when compared to massively larger, global deposits of coal.
But there are other parts of the study you won't hear Big Oil quoting.
For example, what if all of the tarsand's reserves known to be there, (known as "oil-in-place and seven times larger than Saudi Arabia's) are developed, over time? In that case, Earth's temperature would rise up to ten times as much as in the last scenario! And that would represent almost half of the man-made warming the planet has already experienced over the past 100 years!
Surely, that would be detectable!
While total oilsands development might seem unlikely, given improved technologies and the almost messianic bent of this and (heaven forbid), future governments to exploit the resource, surely it is not imposssible, either.
To quote from the study;
"Greenhouse-gas emissions resulting from expanding oil-sands production are Canada’s fastest-growing emissions source, and have the potential to contribute significantly to anthropogenic climate change. This is accentuated by the fact that the oil sands are more energy-intensive to produce than conventional crude oil — and have a greater ‘well-to-wheel’ carbon footprint."
"If North American and international policymakers wish to limit global warming to less than 2 °C, they will clearly need to put in place measures that ensure a rapid transition of global energy systems to non-greenhouse-gas-emitting sources, while avoiding commitments to new infrastructure supporting dependence on fossil fuels."
One of the report's authors, Prof. Weaver, said this in a recent, online video: "The tar sands are an interesting example of end-to-end environmental degradation, whether it be excessive use of water, toxic sludge that affects eco-systems, or greenhouse gas emissions."
After carefully reading the study myself, I remain convinced (as do these scientists) that untrummelled development of the tar sands is still just wrongheaded.
But my main message to honest activists everywhere would be this: Let's show the world we are not like the cranks or vested interests we all reject - that we can actually learn from the science we are presented with.
It is therefore time to redouble our efforts to slay the ugly elephant in the room - coal. l.p.
(Source - Wikipedia) A report put forth by economist and former Insurance Corporation of BC CEO, Robyn Allan, in early 2012, states that this proposed pipeline could actually hurt non-oil based sectors of the Canadian economy. Allan stated in the report that the project's success depends on continual yearly oil price increases, by about $3/barrel. She also stated that an increase in oil prices will lead to "a decrease in family purchasing power, higher prices for industries who use oil as an input into their production process, higher rates of unemployment in non-oil industry related sectors, a decline in real GDP, a decline in government revenues, an increase in inflation, an increase in interest rates and further appreciation of the Canadian dollar."
PLT: Just heard Joe Oliver spouting off on CBC Radio. Boy, does he like to have it both ways! On the one hand, he loves to brag that the TAR Sands are the 3rd largest oil reserve in the world and THE biggest single, industrial project. Alberta tar sands. Courtesy of Beautiful Destruction Well, what about greenhouse gas emissions then? They must be significant, too? Naaah, they're tiny compared to everybody else. He and Steve will soon be visiting China, hobnobbing with the "ethical" members of the Communist Party, selling out as many of the Canadian people's resources as they can get away with. These Dudes are out of control!
"We welcome the decision by the Obama Administration to say no to the
Keystone XL pipeline," said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra
Club Canada. “Obama listened to Americans and shared their concerns
about the environmental and social impacts. He made the right decision.”
"The Keystone XL pipeline is a bad idea based on bad economics.
Today is a victory for the environment and future generations,” said
Mr. Bennett. "We only wish the Canadian government would act as
thoughtfully when it comes to other proposed mega-Tar Sands
projects like the Northern Gateway Pipeline.”
John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada email@example.com
Postmedia News 22'11 - Mike De Souza OTTAWA — Contamination of a major western Canadian river basin from oil sands operations is a “high-profile concern” for downstream communities and wildlife, says a newly-released “secret” presentation...Details here.
The oil sands, the world’s largest energy project, will face severe or even catastrophic water shortages due to declining glaciers and snowpack in the Rocky Mountains, warn Canadian water researchers. Details here.