Results from a study led by University of Alberta scientists, published Aug. 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) (www.pnas.org), show that mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium and other metals toxic at trace levels are showing up in the Athabasca River watershed in the area of Alberta's oilsands projects.
This evidence contradicts results from the Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program (RAMP), which studies impacts of the oilsands on the region's watersheds. RAMP consistently reports negligible increases in pollutants compared to natural background levels. Based on this evidence, industry and the Alberta government take the view that pollutants in the region's watershed come from natural sources, not the oilsands developments.... Read more »
EDMONTON — A new study co-authored by an Alberta researcher suggests the number of bird deaths in the province's northern oilsands tailings ponds is up to 77 times higher than industry estimates.
Kevin Timoney, an Edmonton-area ecologist with Treeline Ecological Research, said between 458 and 5,029 birds die each year — about 2,000 on average — after landing in tailings ponds filled with hydrocarbons, brine, silts, clays, heavy metals, bitumen, ammonia and naphthenic acids.
Industry reports suggest an average of 65 birds die each year, but Timoney said the industry doesn't monitor the tailings ponds at night — when some birds may sink out of sight — and doesn't provide mortality rates outside the spring and fall migrations.... Read more »
If you'd like to send a letter to your Alberta MLA outlining your concerns over the Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program (R.A.M.P) and health concerns in Fort Chipewyan, please follow the following step by step guide.
1. Go to http://bit.ly/6iBBox
2. Enter your name.
3. Enter your email.
4. Select your MLA (click the link on top to find your MLA).
5. Hit send (or if you'd like, alter the letter).
6. Your MLA's office will email you back to verify your address. Please provide your postal code or address. If not, you MLA will ignore your letter.
For more context on the issue, please click here.
Residents are angry about an Alberta government proposal to have the oilsands industry participate in a health study of cancer rates in this tiny community on the Athabasca River.
Industry members would sit on the oversight committee managing the study, according to the proposal.
"I don't believe industry should be part of this committee," said Steve Courtoreille, a councillor of the Mikisew Cree First Nation and chairman of the Nunee Health Board Society. "If there are people sitting on the oversight committee who are connected (to industry), they're going to have instructions as to what steps they have to take to look after the best interests of who they're serving."
The provincial government expressed interest in a study after a report from the Alberta Cancer Board in February 2009 found that cancer rates were 30 per cent higher than expected in the northern Alberta community.... Read more »