Protecting Marine Areas from the Threat of Oil and Gas Development
A scientific panel has backed research that indicates oil sands development is releasing contaminants into northern Alberta watersheds.
The panel also concludes that government monitoring programs weren’t even trying to determine if the industry was polluting the Athabasca River.
Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner said the results from the panel’s review will be used in an ongoing redesign of how the province keeps track of industry’s impact on land and water.
But one of the University of Alberta scientists whose study led to the panel said it’s probably already too late to get a true picture of how energy development has affected the region.
“It’s nearly impossible at this point,” David Schindler said Wednesday after the panel’s findings were released by the Environment Department.... Read more »
An Alberta law professor is suggesting the province's gold rush approach of granting hundreds of leases every year on First Nation lands is leaving it vulnerable to constitutional challenge.
Nigel Bankes, chairman of Natural Resources Law at the University of Calgary, is criticizing the Alberta government for its failure to properly consult First Nations before putting their land up for anonymous public auction through the oilsands tenure system.
In what could be interpreted as a sign that the pace of oilsands development is outstripping basic social expectations for government due diligence, he suggests the system is vulnerable to constitutional challenge.
Bankes routinely blogs about oil and gas issues as well as aboriginal issues including the recent court decision ruling against Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's challenge to the issuance of oilsands leases to Shell Canada.... Read more »
Canadian authorities have no reliable way of tracking vessels that pass through a zone off the B.C. coast meant to keep out oil tankers, despite reassurances by the Harper government that the zone is strictly monitored, Postmedia News has learned.
The Tanker Exclusion Zone was established in 1988 under a non-binding agreement between the Canadian and U.S. coast guards and the U.S. tanker industry. It was designed to lower the risk of an oil tanker running aground off the coast of British Columbia.
The zone, which runs from southern Alaska to the southern tip of Vancouver Island, applies to tankers carrying oil from the Trans-Alaska pipeline to ports along the U.S. west coast.... Read more »
OTTAWA — The Harper government will unveil its plan to crack down on industrial pollution — including greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands — before the end of 2011, Environment Minister Peter Kent said Friday.
Responding to new statistics from his department that suggest Canada is on pace to miss its new climate change target for 2020 by nearly 30 per cent, Kent said further announcements this year will bring the goal within reach, following recent measures such as new standards increasing renewable fuel content in gasoline and tailpipe emissions regulations for new passenger vehicles.
"Our target is to bring in the other proposed regs (regulations) by the end of the year," Kent said in an interview with Postmedia News. "It's not going to be easy.... Read more »
Despite public promises to compensate residents for losses associated with the summer oil spill, in Calhoun county court Enbridge is arguing that it is not legally liable for damages from the spill.
Last July a pipeline rupture on Enbridge’s 6B pipeline spilled an estimated million gallons of Canadian tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River system. The oil traveled 30 miles down the rain-swollen river, coating the floodplain.
Officials declared a state of emergency, recommended evacuation because of unsafe levels of benzene in the air, and closed the Kalamazoo River to all activity by the public.
In numerous public statements Enbridge CEO Pat Daniels apologized for the spill and promised to take responsibility for the cleanup and address the needs of the affected people and businesses.... Read more »