Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stephen Harper doesn’t care about the environment, wildlife, fisheries, the whole ecology. The environment, the fields and forests, the waterways, rivers and inlets and all God’s creation that dwell there in, are just in the way of Harper’s goal of unimpeded resource extraction.

Syncrude's Mildred Lake mine site and plant near Fort McMurray, Alberta

Syncrude’s Mildred Lake mine site and plant near Fort McMurray, Alberta

The Harper motto is, “Dig It, Sell It, Let the future generations pay the price.”

Making liquid fuels from oil sands bitumen requires massive amounts of energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates 12 percent more greenhouse gases per barrel of final product than extraction of conventional oil. Overall, the tar sands development produces 4 times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil reserves. In 2012 estimated 100 Mega Tons of carbon dioxide which is more than the all emissions from all passenger cars in Canada put together.

When added up, the machinery used, the extraction process, the transportation of bitumen oil including trucks and trains, and the refining process, the Alberta Oil Sands is the no 1 single source of GHGs Green House Gas emissions in the world.

Making liquid fuels from oil sands bitumen requires massive amounts of energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates 12 percent more greenhouse gases per barrel of final product than extraction of conventional oil. Overall, the tar sands development produces 4 times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil reserves. In 2012 estimated 100 Mega Tons of carbon dioxide which is more than the all emissions from all passenger cars in Canada put together.

When added up, the machinery used, the extraction process, the transportation of bitumen oil including trucks and trains, and the refining process, the Alberta Oil Sands is the no 1 single source of GHGs Green House Gas emissions in the world.

Environment Canada has projected that tar sands operations could account for about 44 per cent of the increase in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 to 2020. In Environment Canada’s “reference case” projection, oil sands emissions would rise from 4 per cent of the national emissions in 2006 to 12 per cent in 2020.
Source: Environment Canada, Turning the Corner: Detailed Emissions and Economic Modelling (2008), 42.

“Contrary to claims made by industry and government in the popular press, the oil sands industry substantially increases loadings of toxic PPE [priority pollutants] to the Athabasca River and its tributaries via air and water pathways. This increase confirms the serious defects of RAMP [Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program] (11–13), which has not detected such patterns in the Athabasca River watershed. Detailed long-term monitoring is essential to distinguish the sources of these contaminants and control their potential impacts on environmental and human health.”
Source: Kelly, Erin N, David W Schindler, Peter V Hodson, Jeffrey W Short, Roseanna Radmanovich, and Charlene C Nielsen. “Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2010): 1-6.

Reclamation

This was once Boreal Forest

Only 0.2% of the area disturbed has been reclaimed.
Of the 602 square kms of land disturbed by oil sands mining operations, only 1.04 square kms (104 hectares) is certified by the government as reclaimed.
Source: Government of Alberta, “Alberta’s Oil Sands: Facts and Stats” (accessed September 2, 2010).

Reclamation is a very different goal to restoration, which is an intentional activity that initiates or accelerates the recovery of an ecosystem with respect to its health, integrity and sustainability.
Source: Society for Ecological Restoration International, The SER International Primer on Ecological Restoration. SER has identified nine attributes as a basis for determining when restoration has been accomplished.

Downstream from the Tar Sands People Are Dying

Harper stifled scientists on tar sands pollution and emissions.
A 128-page report chronicling “systemic efforts” to obstruct public access to researchers. Read Report.

Muzzled  “This all started back in 2008 when the Tories implemented a policy in which federal scientists were told to direct all media inquiries to national headquarters and not respond to requests to talk about their work. As a consequence, many Canadians, and especially the media, are not hearing about the latest findings, including those published in prestigious journals. Canadian scientists are starting to slip on the world stage.”

‘Stand Up For Science’ Protests: Scientists Protest Harper Government ‘Muzzling,’ Cuts
CP | By Ben Makuch, The Canadian Press Posted: 09/16/2013

” Hundreds of frustrated scientists clad in their telltale white lab coats descended Monday on Parliament Hill to demand that the Harper government stop muzzling scientists and cutting research funding.

“What do we want? Evidence-based decision-making!” chanted the protesters as they gathered in the shadow of the Peace Tower, complaining about what they see as the government’s efforts to commercialize research.

The very fact that such a typically apolitical group felt the need to make their voices heard speaks volumes, said Jeremy Kerr, a biology professor at the University of Ottawa.”

“More than anything, it was when you put all the pieces together, how vivid a picture emerges of a very clear and very malicious agenda to facilitate rapid resource extraction by dismantling an entire century’s worth of environmental regulations, environmental monitoring, and basic science. I was amazed by the extent of it and how deliberate it is.”
On the book: The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Willful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada by Chris Turner, an award-winning environmental writer who lays bare how science has been politicized, controlled, and methodically stifled. He also explores the underlying motivations for the Conservatives’ turn away from verifiable research.

“They’ve reduced the government’s capacity to gather data, and they’ve downsized or eliminated offices that monitor and analyze scientific information. They’ve also seized control of the channels through which science is communicated, and explicitly prevented the publication of research that could interfere with private industry.”

“Bill C-38, for example, amended 60 different pieces of legislation, repealed a half-dozen more, and essentially rewrote the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It triggered cuts and closures at research labs and monitoring stations across the country. It was “like a hundred vicious scalpels”, Turner writes.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada was unable to complete a risk assessment for Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline, because of Harper Government cutbacks they lack the capacity to provide relevant scientific information.

Bill C-38 slashed funding for Canada’s Environmental Emergencies Program, which was the federal government’s first response unit for oil spills. It also closed environmental regional offices in B.C., disbanded Vancouver Island’s marine contaminant group, and closed field offices in Prince George and Smithers (the two offices closest to the proposed route for the Northern Gateway Pipeline).

“The kindest thing I can say is that these people don’t know enough about science to know the value of what they are cutting,” David Schindler, a scientist at the University of Alberta.

The Harper Government de-funded the internationally acclaimed Experimental Lakes Area in Kenora, ON. only because the findings of scientists such as the effect of crude spills on water, or the impact of air pollutants on an ecosystem, were an impediment to Harper’s reckless resource extraction. With the absence of this core scientific data projects like the Tar Sands can continue unchallenged, but the problems remain and the impacts on the environment, including humans, are perpetuated.

Instead of addressing challenges the government chooses to deny that the problems exist, or to minimize their impacts. Both strategies of evasion (deny or minimize) are enabled. See story

“The government rationale for the de-funding and transfer of funding is that tax payer-funded research should serve the needs of industry. However, the shift in focus corrupts core research by creating research parameters that compromise thorough examinations of any given hypothesis or premise.

While these restrictions serve the government’s agenda to create an unimpeded/streamlined environment for both industry and government ideology, they endanger the public. Core research that interferes with the government/corporate agenda (but sometimes negatively impacts public health and safety) is discarded or suppressed, while narrowly focused research that doesn’t contradict corporate government messaging is rewarded.

Public dangers inherent in this strategy of information suppression and distortion are not always tangible, but they are toxic nonetheless.”

As NWF (National Wildlife Federation) President Larry Schweiger said in a letter to President Obama:

“We continue to believe that it is imperative that Canada put in place measures to reduce the carbon emissions from its fossil fuel sector. However, the expansion of tar sands production is counter to serious climate change mitigation. Tar sands crude is one of the most carbon intensive fossil fuels in the world and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is a linchpin for massive tar sands expansion. Canada cannot reduce its carbon emissions while also expanding tar sands production.”

“In recent years, Canada has prioritized the development and expansion of tar sands over addressing climate change. During this same period, Canada has withdrawn from its Kyoto Protocol obligations, stifled climate science, hollowed out Canada’s federal environmental regulations, and recorded a troubling increase in Canada’s carbon emissions.”

– See more at: http://blog.nwf.org/

If the Harper Government manages to win another term in office, Canada is potentially going to lose a generation. Recovery from the environmental and ecological damage caused by the Harper administration could take a lifetime to repair. If possible to repair at all. Stephen Harper said in 2007, “You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with it.” He was definitely right.

Advertisements