Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Those Precious Tar Sands The Prime Minister Protects
A paper published in the (peer-reviewed) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes that the "oil sands development is a greater source of contamination than previously realized." (You can find the study on line just as I did.) They also concluded that "our study confirms the serious defects of the Ramp." Ramp is short for the Regional Acquatic Monitoring Program - a program that the Alberta government and industry have used to defend the tar sands. Ramp reported that the effects of tar sands mining are minimal and that human health and the environment are not adversely affected. In effect, the Alberta government has depended upon flawed science to develop the tar sands - all the while ignoring the complaints of residents downstream from them. (Fort Chipewyan residents are convinced that tar sands development is responsible for their elevated rates of cancer.) Moreover, oil production in the tar sands is a major reason that Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are among the highest in the world. Wouldn't it be sensible to apply the precautionary principle and at least slow further development of the tar sands?