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lie of a cleaner oilsands

The lie of a cleaner oilsands

1 min read

In May 2022 a tailings pond at Imperial’s Kearl Lake facility in northern Alberta started leaking toxic waste into groundwater and outside its lease boundaries. But no one reported the leak to water users living downstream of the massive oilsands project for nine months.

In a nutshell:

Award-winning journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, writing for The Tyee, lays out a damning but all-too-familiar chronology of ongoing hydrocarbon spills in the Alberta oilpatch that go unreported and unregulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator. Indigenous leaders, their communities' food sources and drinking water contaminated, have blasted the agency as unaccountable.

Key quote:

“All trust with the Alberta government has been broken and has been broken for a long time. They can’t be trusted to oversee the mess,” Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Big picture:

While the Canadian government claims progress toward a better-regulated, less-polluting industry, previous promises by the Alberta government and industry to control growing mining waste have been broken. Industry ignored 2009 rules to reduce the volume of tailing waste and regulators ultimately abandoned the rules, Nikiforuk reports. The latest scheme put forth by government and industry involves minimally treating tailings wastewater by filtering it through petroleum coke and releasing the water into the Athabasca River.

Read the full story from The Tyee.

About the author(s):

EHN Staff

Articles written and posted by staff at Environmental Health News

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