New Report Shows Federal and Provincial Governments Breaking Own Rules On Air and Water and Land To Approve More Oil Sands Projects

Edmonton, Alberta – A new report released today entitled Alberta’s Oil Sands Development is Not Responsible- Moratorium Needed shows that since 2004 the federal and Alberta provincial governments have knowingly broken their own publicly vowed rules requiring the monitoring and consideration of environmental cumulative effects of all oil sands projects (effects include water, air, biodiversity and land).

The report, released by Keepers of the Athabasca, was written by Helene Walsh, who has worked for more than 10 years with the Alberta government, Alberta environmental and citizen groups and Alberta’s Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA), where she was on the board.

“I showed my report to CEMA and it was praised for being factually correct, but CEMA would not take it to government and the public.  This is the problem I’ve come up against for years – no one seems willing to regulate the petroleum industry,” said Walsh.

The report examines the key findings of five recent reviews of current monitoring efforts: the Federal Oil sands Advisory Panel (2010), the provincial Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) Review Panel, a panel commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada, the provincial Alberta Environmental Monitoring Panel and the Auditor General of Canada. All five reviews concluded the environmental monitoring in the oil sands region has not been adequate to measure the current cumulative effects.

In addition, evidence documented from the five reviews, aboriginal groups and independent study shows the harmful environmental effects caused by the oil sands industry in the region already pose a threat to air, water, land and biodiversity.

“It’s deeply troubling both levels of government are pushing so hard for more oil sands development despite mounting proof that harmful cumulative environmental effects exist – proof that is being actively ignored,”  said Walsh.

The report recommends:

  • An independent monitoring program capable of detecting regional trends and cumulative effects and this program is implemented and has adequate results,
  • Independent limits established for environmental damage to the air, water, land and biodiversity such that there will not be lasting harm to the environment.

Keepers of the Athabasca are First Nations, Metis, Inuit, environmental groups, and watershed citizens working together for the protection of water, land and air in the Athabasca River Watershed of Alberta.

For more information, please contact:

Helene Walsh, Keepers of the Athabasca, 780-922-0908