DAILY NEWS Aug 8, 2014 9:57 AM - 2 comments

CEC approves investigation into Alberta oil sands pollution

TEXT SIZE bigger text smaller text
By: HazMat Staff
2014-08-08

 

The North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has found enough evidence to warrant an investigation into the Canadian government’s failure to enforce the federal Fisheries Act, with respect to continuous leaking from Alberta’s toxic oil sands tailings ponds.

Since 2010, the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Canada-based Environmental Defence, as well as three private Canadian citizens, have argued that the Canadian government has failed to take measures against Alberta’s toxic oils sands tailings.

The environmental groups’ case is based on data from corporate proposals obtained in 2008 by Pembina Corporate Consulting. The data shows that approximately 11 million litres of toxic liquid tailings waste from tar sands operations leak into surrounding ecosystems every day, or upwards of four billion litres per year. The groups claim these numbers will only increase as oil sands development expands, and that some 95 per cent of the water used in the operations is “too toxic to be returned to the watershed and is eventually stored in the giant, leaking, tailings lakes.”

“It is an ongoing tragedy that the federal government will not let anything get in the way of accelerated tar sands development, including the health of citizens downstream from the tar sands, and the surrounding environment,” Dale Marshall of Environmental Defence said in an August 7, 2014 statement.

Specifically, the groups’ toxic liquid tailings allegations relate to subsection 36(3) of the federal Fisheries Act, which prohibits waste from being deposited in habitats frequented by fish.

While the CEC does have enforcement powers for environmental pollution, the reach of those powers has rarely been tested on such a large scale as the allegations surrounding the oil sands’ leakage. The Commission cannot penalize Canada in any direct way as much as it can publish factual findings to the international community, findings that would undoubtedly counter Canada’s stance that its oil sands operations are environmentally sustainable.



Horizontal ruler

Reader Comments

Most recent firstOldest first

kamikaze chicken

"The Commission cannot...as much as it can publish factual findings to the international community, findings that would undoubtedly counter Canada’s stance that its oil sands operations are environmentally sustainable." - can you maybe wait until there some "findings" to support "a stance"? or is the process of pre-decision (deciding what the results will be ahead of time) part of a "new scientific approach" we're not familiar with?

Posted August 27, 2014 01:58 PM


woodsie

The last sentence of the above article sums up the position of the environmentalists. Even if the findings suport Canada, these findings will not be accepted or believed.

Posted August 8, 2014 02:43 PM


FirstPrevNextLast
Horizontal Ruler

Post A Comment

Disclaimer
Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that Hazardous Material Magazine has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published and those that are published will not be edited. However, all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Your Name (this will appear with your post) *

Email Address (will not be published) *

Comments *



* mandatory fields

Multimedia Center


Current IssuePrint Archives

Digital Edition
In-depth analysis of current issues related to environmental performance,emergency response, safety and waste management.

Go To: Digital Edition
Go To: Print Archives
Go To: Subscribe




Classifieds
Go To More Classified Ads


Sponsors