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Page added on December 23, 2011

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‘Secret’ Environment Canada study warns of oil sands’ impact on habitat

Enviroment

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 prepared last spring by Environment Canada that highlighted numerous warnings about the industry’s growing footprint on land, air, water and the climate.

The warnings from the department contrast with recent claims made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment Minister Peter Kent that the industry is being unfairly targeted by environmentalists who exaggerate its impacts on nature and people.

The presentation noted figures from the Canadian Energy Research Institute, a collaboration among industry, government and academics, that estimate the oil sands sector is responsible for more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada, and will contribute more than $1.7-trillion to the country’s economy over the next 25 years.

But it warned that Alberta and other parts of Western Canada are facing a steep economic and ecological price tag for failing to crack down on the industry’s collateral damage.

“Contamination of the Athabasca River is a high-profile concern,” said the presentation, marked secret, but released to Postmedia News through access to information legislation.

“Recent studies suggest elevated levels of pollutants near mining sites including hydrocarbons and heavy metals … (It) raises questions about possible effects on health of wildlife and downstream communities.”

Financial Post



4 Comments on "‘Secret’ Environment Canada study warns of oil sands’ impact on habitat"

  1. BillT on Fri, 23rd Dec 2011 12:06 pm 

    The oil sands are just finding out that money is not everything…and the output will be curtailed in years to come. And probably not be exported. Wait and see.

  2. armageddon51 on Fri, 23rd Dec 2011 5:08 pm 

    This is old new. That`s what the natives have been saying for years since the oil sands development started. They are affected by elevated cancer rate. They can`t fish anymore, it`s too dangerous. Canada has lost control of that resource a long time ago. Multinationals corporations control the shot over there and money talk ONLY. Canadians are too dumb to nationalize the resource like other smart countries.

  3. The Practician on Fri, 23rd Dec 2011 9:22 pm 

    Yes. Yes we are. Part of the problem is that the oilsands are probably only profitable to develop as long as the canadian people get allmost zero cut of the profits. Its not like saudi arabia where there’s lots of extra money/energy to spread around.

  4. BillT on Sat, 24th Dec 2011 1:14 am 

    Oil sands are barely profitable as The Practician said. Many changes coming in the oil industry, and they are not positive.

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