Right now in Alberta, tar sands bitumen is spilling into the environment at four different sites, one directly underneath a lake. All four spills have been spilling for months and the Alberta and Canadian governments know all about it, they are just powerless to stop them.
In the 20th century, much of the divide in politics and policy was over how best to create jobs, incomes and keep people from starving--how to create opportunity as part of the good life. Those on the "left" argued for state intervention and often outright state ownership; those on the "right" pointed to open markets and other elements of capitalism as the superior route to avoiding poorer populations.
It's been another spill-filled summer in the spill-prone province of Alberta. With Alberta averaging over two oil spills a day over the past 37 years, there are many spills that we don't know about. However we do know about some and what we know is alarming. Here is a recap of just five of the spills to hit Alberta this summer.
Welcome to Fort McMurray, Neil. This is not the place you think it is. Oh, sure, it is the home of the oil sands, and that is our major industry - but it is, as the ads say, so much more than oil. This community is home to thousands of people who live, work, and play here. And some of them, like me, love it. In fact some of us love it so much it feels more like home than anywhere else we have ever lived, and we work every single day to try to make it a better place - and that includes the industry.
A couple weeks ago I wanted to let my family and friends know what was going on in my life and I tweeted that I was going to be filming with Neil Young and Daryl Hannah in Fort McMurray. I was not prepared for the reaction. My phone was immediately blowing up with media requests to find out what was going on. Reaction from people commenting on social media in the community ranged from concern to rage over how Fort McMcMurray would be portrayed by these people who have a clear environmental agenda.
When I got back home after the tar sands Healing Walk last month, I had the strange sensation of being both exhausted and invigorated. Participating...
Filling up at the gas station is certainly one of the ways to use oil that is most familiar to us. But guess what: of all the oil we use, only 43 per cent goes to fueling our cars. Given this, can we seriously consider ending our "dependence on oil", as some would suggest? Someone who wants to stop using oil will have to say goodbye to smart phones, ballpoint pens, candlelight, clothing made of synthetic fibers, glasses, toothpaste, tires (including those on bicycles), and thousands of other products made from plastic, a petroleum derivative. Good luck with that program.
Foreign markets are buying up our resources, corporations are getting rich, and average Canadians are taking on all the risk. Unfortunately, Canada has a poor record of enforcement against oil companies, and prosecutes less than one per cent of environmental violations in the oil sands. Because of changes to the NEB Act last year, Canadians must do tremendous paperwork to have their voices heard, but some are fighting back.
Canadian drivers may think that TransCanada's Energy East pipeline, which will allow Alberta to ramp up oil sands production while boosting the flow of oil to eastern Canada, will translate into lower pump prices. Think again.
Two political satirists, in the spotlight for their ongoing spoofery of the Alberta tar sands project, had the Indiegogo fundraising promotional video for their upcoming "vacation" to the Alberta tar sands ordered removed from YouTube after Alberta's tourism bureau alleged a copyright violation. Is Big Oil to blame?
Pennsylvania Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate and former head of the PA Department of Environmental Protection, Kathleen "Katie" McGinty, has hired powerful PR firm SKDKnickerbocker for her campaign's communications efforts.
If Energy East were displacing expensive imported fuel with a cheaper home grown alternative that would be one thing. But that's not the case.
There's a big dust-up between Barack Obama and Keystone XL proponents over how many jobs the pipeline is projected to produce.This debate can be summarized by asking the question: "How many jobs do you want it to produce?" Whatever your answer, it's not hard to find someone to support your claim.
The president's points are well taken -- the benefits of Keystone XL tar sands have been overstated by its proponents while its impact on the climate would be significant.
More than 13 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product depends on healthy ecosystems, according to Environment Canada. it seems absurd to try to assign worth to something so vital we can't survive without it. Who needs nature? We do. Without nature, we would not be here. How do we put an economic value on that?
A new report out today finds that environmental infractions by companies in the Alberta oil sands are addressed with an enforcement action far less often than similar infractions reported to the United State's Environmental Protection Agency. Of the more than 4,000 infractions reported in the oil sands, less than 1 per cent (.09 to be exact) were addressed.