Sunday, February 13, 2011

Oil Sands Film Completely One-Sided

There is a need for a real conversation about the oil sands based on evidence and science.  Propaganda by any side does not help and it is good to see some evidence based push back by industry.  The slick ad campaigns by industry and the Alberta government are perceived as nothing more than the propaganda from the other side.

Albertans as owners of the oil sands are not amused by any of this posturing.  Albertan's own the oil sands and we are becoming a target around the world.  The agitprop approaches are not helpful.  We want and deserve to have a sense of pride in this amazing opportunity.  That opportunity is not just to get rich as possible as quickly as possible.

The real opportunity is to be the best stewards of our Alberta owned hydrocarbon resources on the planet.  That means environmental stewardship, biodiversity stewardship, social impact stewardship, reclamation stewardship and to maximize the fiscal return from the exploitation of the resource for future generations of Albertans.  

Creating jobs and attracting investment is just the ante into the oil sands game.  There is so much more that needs to be done, can be done and to the credit of those oil sands corporations in the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative - is being done. More on that in later posts.


  1. Except that it's being criticized by people who are one-sided themselves. I haven't seen the film, but I wouldn't necessarily trust a review from CAPP.

    Don't get me wrong Ken, I think the oil sands are probably sustainable in the short term. It's just that what happens when activity doubles, triples, etc.? Right now it can be offset by lower emissions, kind of, in the rest of Canada, but there's not a lot of room for that to go down. I don't think that there's a plan here and we're being hit with a lot of comfortable assurances— wow, industry is ADMITTING there's a problem! But that's not the same thing as doing much about it.

    CAPP make symbolic concessions to the environment, so they don't sound one-sided, but the fundamental premise they won't question is whether economics can ever come second to the environment. The answer is that it can't. It has to be growth growth growth right now and only have an optimistic Plan A for technological advances.

    I'm surprised that they're regurgitating that line that the Royal Society report somehow quelled all questions regarding the health effects. This is what Andrew Nikiforiuk had to say about that part of the RSC report:

    "The scientists [of the RSC] also bungle the cancer story downstream. Their terse review of the 2009 Alberta Cancer Study, which notes that big oil projects do beget cancer problems, is grossly incomplete. That study highlighted a group of Fort Chip residents that worked in the mines and later died in Fort McMurray at the average age of 42. Unlike residents of Fort Chip, they died from totally different cancers."

    "The expert panel also errs in a major way by drawing upon an error-ridden report largely written and released by Health Canada officials to cast aspersions on Dr. John O'Connor, the doctor that boldly drew attention to cancers downstream."

    "Quoting an unreferenced and inaccurate document containing outright lies is not something a bunch of so-called experts should be doing."

  2. Hmmmm - "Albertans own the oil sands" - and yet it is the First Nations people around the oil sands that are the most immediately affected by the toxic pollution of the land and water. Perhaps you should ask them who they think "owns" the land.