Releasing more polluted mine tailings into the Athabasca River may soon become a lot easier for oil sands companies. According to The Globe, the federal and Alberta governments are working with companies on new regulations to authorize the discharge of treated effluent.
This follows on recent revelations from a leaked Alberta Energy Regulator presentation that in a “worst-case scenario” total liabilities for oil and gas operations could be as much as $260-billion. Taxpayers have purchased a used pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5-billion so the industry can ship its product to unspecified markets, which we are assured will be profitable. The industry is also demanding weakened review procedures to fast track new development, despite the oil-sands expansion likely making it impossible for Canada to meet international commitments for greenhouse gas reductions. Are there no limits to the concessions that we must make to facilitate this ill-conceived industry?