I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

More on Those Dead Ducks

Documents obtained by CTV News show oil giant Syncrude knew several birds had been landing on its tailings ponds before more than 1,600 ducks were found coated in bitumen.  This comes as a series of employee interviews were entered as evidence at the company trial.  The documents show details from interviews conducted with about 20 Syncrude employees.  And on one page, an e-mail was shown suggesting the company knew about the waterfowl landing on the tailings ponds before the May 2008 incident.
Senior Syncrude officials couldn't tell federal and provincial investigators why resources for the company's waterfowl protection plan declined in the years prior to the 2008, when more than 1,600 ducks died on a tailings pond.  Court documents show Alberta Environment investigator Sean Harris raised the issue with Syncrude managers a month after the ducks died, asking why the number of scare cannons being deployed to deter waterfowl dropped from 150 in 2001 to 67 in 2007. He also noted the number of deployed effigies or scarecrows dropped from 100 in 2001 to 27 in 2007.
Perhaps Syncrude needed to pinch pennies and decided not to worry about a few dead ducks.  (The Oil Sands Project reported earnings of only $ 737 million for the year ended 2007.)  They may regret their parsimony now that the chickens of bad publicity are coming home to roost. 

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