The National Post reports this morning that, "The House of Commons environment committee is wading into a raging public relations war over the Alberta oilsands with a study of the industry's impact on water resources. The MP who proposed the study is Montreal-area Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia...He said hearings expected to begin Thursday are aimed at reconciling conflicting reports linking oilsands operations to damage and risk to the vast, connected water basins of the Athabasca and Mackenzie rivers -- the source of one fifth of Canada's fresh water."
Brent Patterson's blog
The much-noted 'Scraping Bottom' article in the most recent issue of National Geographic highlights the following points about water and the tar sands.
The Los Angeles Times reports today that, "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed a statewide drought emergency Friday, urging Californians to cut water use by 20% and easing the way for water sales from Northern California to Southern California cities and San Joaquin Valley farms."
In 1992, the Japanese company Nippon Cable purchased the Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, BC, as a 400-bed resort. In 1997, the provincial government approved a 24,168 bed expansion to the resort. In October 2000, the Skwelkwek'welt Protection Centre was established to oppose this $70 million expansion and boycott campaigns began. In 2004, solidarity pickets took place outside Delta and Fairmont Hotels in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Montreal, as a further 6,000-beds were added to the resort's expansion plans.
In late-2004, George Manuel Jr., after having been arrested in a related action, stated, "At Skwelkwek’welt we were not protesting, we are not protesters, we were exercising our Inherent Secwepemc Title and Rights to this land and we will not stop. This is only the beginning of how we will continue to pursue a Title case within the setter governments illegal court system when they drag us to court again." At the time, the Council of Canadians and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs condemned the arrest of George Manuel Jr. and two others by the RCMP.
The International Labour Organization reports that, "The global economic crisis is expected to lead to a dramatic increase in the number of people joining the ranks of the unemployed, working poor and those in vulnerable employment..."
The Canadian Press reports that, "The Canadian combat mission in Afghanistan could cost taxpayers around $11.3 billion by the time it ends in 2011, according to a new government estimate."
The Coalition Against Water Privatisation in South Africa writes today that, "For three days (Monday 23rd – Wednesday 25th February) the appeal against the historic High Court judgement on the rights of poor communities to equitable, adequate and affordable access to, and enjoyment of, water was heard in front of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein."
The Canadian Press reports this afternoon that, "Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff is positioning himself as a staunch defender of the Alberta oil sands."
The Calgary Herald reports that, "The Dene Nation and the Assembly of First Nations -- along with the Pembina Institute's office in Yellowknife-- are raising concerns about the risk of toxic waste from the oilsands seeping into the Northwest Territories' water supply."
The National Union of Public and General Employees writes in Straight Goods that, "Barack Obama reaffirmed Wednesday when he flew to Ottawa for his first foreign visit as president of the United States that he wants labour and environmental 'side agreements' brought into the main body of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)."