Pembina Institute

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The truth about tailings

The Pembina Institute's Jennifer Grant sets the record straight on some facts in Pembina's recent report, Northern Lifeblood: Empowering Northern Leaders to Protect the Mackenzie River Basin from Oil Sands Risks.

Downplaying, or ignoring unresolved tailings risks is not helpful at a time we need stronger policies and more publicly available information to inform responsible management.

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Pembina Briefing Note: Canadian Oil Sands and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Facts in Perspective

This briefing note outlines key information about greenhouse gas emissions from Canada's oil sands today and in the future. Recent attention to the issue of greenhouse gases in Canada and the U.S. prompted the Pembina Institute to outline key issues in more detail. Read more about Pembina Briefing Note: Canadian Oil Sands and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Capital Power and broken promises

The Pembina Institute's Chris Severson-Baker posts on Capital Power's application to renege on a commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions at their Genesee 3 coal-fired power plant. The commitment was part of the original approval to build the power plant.

…allowing companies to renege on environmental commitments made at public hearings once projects are operating would be set a dangerous precedent and completely undermine the credibility of the Alberta approvals process.

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Media Release

Lack of tailings dam transparency highlights increased risk to downstream communities

YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. – Two weeks after a parliamentary committee quietly cancelled its report on water and oilsands pollution, a new report reveals that oilsands development continues to create risks for communities downstream. Read more about Lack of tailings dam transparency highlights increased risk to downstream communities

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Accountability & Transparency in Managing Alberta's Environment

Accountability and transparency are essential principles of democracy, but when it comes to managing Alberta's environment they can sometimes be in short supply. The Environmental Law Centre's Jason Unger discusses accountability in the regulatory approval process, the lack of a legal remedy to address broken promises, and proposes two legislative changes to address the issue.

The word “accountable”, meaning “responsible; answerable” (Black’s Law dictionary 9th ed.), evokes the idea that we must pay the piper for unmet promises…

 

…It seems, however, that accountability for environmental impacts and decisions related to them are becoming increasingly elusive.

The Pembina Institute's Nathan Lemphers goes on a quest in search of emergency preparedness plans in case of a oil sands tailings lake breach, and finds only secrecy and a lack of transparency.

Communities downstream of the oil sands are already skeptical about whether the Government of Alberta and oil sands operators are diligently managing the impacts and risks associated with oil sands development…

…A lack of transparency around tailings management is only adding to the skepticism and concerns.

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Devon blowout highlights impacts of in situ oilsands operations

In the wake of last weekend's blowout at Devon Canada's Jackfish in situ oilsands site, the Pembina Institute's Terra Simieritsch posts on the environmental impacts of in situ oilsands operations:

We conducted a first-of-its-kind analysis of the environmental performance of in situ oil sands operations, comparing mining and in situ development side by side. Our resulting fact sheet revealed that in situ development is not an environmental gamechanger…

The bottom line is in situ oil sands development comes with significant impacts and risks - impacts and risks that shouldn't be downplayed. Cumulative impacts have the potential to extend across a very large landscape.

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Media Release

Capital Power breaks a key promise to Albertans

Capital Power trying to ‘wish away’ its progressive 2001 public hearing commitment in favor of simple compliance

EDMONTON, AB — Environmental groups and landowners have joined forces to block Capital Power's bid to remove a legal requirement that it offset 50 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions that are released from the Genesee 3 coal power plant. Read more about Capital Power breaks a key promise to Albertans

Media Release

Review of Enbridge oilsands pipeline doesn't stack up

VANCOUVER, B.C. — When compared to the review of the Mackenzie Gas Project, the proposed environmental assessment of the Enbridge Gateway oilsands pipeline falls short, according to an analysis released today by the Pembina Institute.

The size of the Joint Review Panel and a lack of regional representation are two key concerns, said Karen Campbell, Staff Counsel for the Pembina Institute. Read more about Review of Enbridge oilsands pipeline doesn't stack up

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