Oilsands Pollute the Athabasca River

The joint government/industry water quality monitoring body that tracks water pollution in the Athabasca river has been saying for years that the oilsands mining is not affecting water quality. This despite abnormally high cancer rates in the First Nations communities that live downstream. Today the CBC reports that a University of Alberta study shows that the Athabasca river has much higher levels of pollutants downstream from oilsands mining operations that upstream of them.  I guess sometimes the obvious is big news.

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2 Responses to Oilsands Pollute the Athabasca River

  1. hshields says:

    Thanks for the post! I get the feeling this study states the obvious: oilsands exploration and development is harmful to the local environment and contributes to the global greenhouse gas problem. So, why is this specifically news? Shouldn’t we be talking about at what price point does oil have to be that makes development unfeasible? Keep in mind, with new infrastructure in Alberta, the NWT and pipelines to BC and the coast, that price point becomes more and more flexible every year.

  2. Yaacov says:

    Well, it’s news mostly because the Alberta government has been saying for years that the oilsands development isn’t polluting the Athabasca River. I agree with you, this isn’t a surprise, but it does mean that the government has been either neglectful in the extreme or deliberately misrepresenting the situation. And, as usual, First Nations are the most heavily affected population.

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