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Harper government approves Jackpine tar sands expansion

The Canadian Press reports, “Shell Canada’s Jackpine tar sands mine expansion plan has received the go-ahead from Ottawa, despite the environment minister’s view that it’s ‘likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects’.”

“The Jackpine expansion would allow Shell to increase its bitumen output by 50 per cent to 300,000 barrels a day. …The company has purchased about 730 hectares of former cattle pasture in northwestern Alberta to help compensate for the 8,500 hectares of wetland that would be forever lost. …In a statement late Friday, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq concluded that the effects from the 100,000-barrel-per-day expansion are ‘justified in the circumstances’.”

“The nearby Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation has said the project will violate several federal laws covering fisheries and species at risk, as well as treaty rights. …Allan Adam, chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, was outraged that the federal decision came as the government was still supposed to be in talks with the band about how the project’s effects were to be mitigated.”

On October 23, 2012, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow visited Fort McMurray to support Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation opposition to the project.

Maude Barlow

Barlow wrote, “The ACFN is arguing that the increase in oil production (big enough to supply both the proposed Gateway pipeline and the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline) would destroy water, air and wilderness in a vast area of their territory. I brought words of solidarity to this struggle and said this Shell expansion would not only violate the treaty rights of First Nations, but their rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and their right to water under the new UN recognition of this right.”

Further reading
We Stand With the ACFN to Stop Pipelines At the Source