Forests and Climate Change

Suncor 'turns corner' on tailings

Standing on the lip of Suncor Energy's Millennium mine, the vista can take your breath away.

Fifty to 100 metres below, seven giant shovels positioned around the gaping, 15-square-kilometre pit fill a parade of 400-tonne trucks, each carrying the equivalent of 200 barrels of bitumen.

It's the kind of scene that makes dramatic photos: a surface mine before reclamation, a barren, rocky landscape interlaced with haul roads.

And it's an example of the image that shocked Hollywood director James Cameron into calling the oilsands a "black eye" on Canada's environmental record before his trip to the area this week.

But starting next year, the scene will begin to change as a river of sand begins to fill the mine from the outer circle, a virtual doughnut of material moving toward the centre.... Read more »

Eyes of the world are watching Alberta

The day Hollywood heavyweight James Cameron came to Alberta for his oilsands tour, members of the European Parliament also had Alberta's resource on their agenda.

MPs in Brussels were debating a motion to classify the oilsands as a high-emissions fuel in the EU's fuel quality directive that promotes use of greener energy.

Ten days earlier, a new photo exhibit, called Tarnished Earth, opened on the banks of the Thames in London, showing the massive open-pit mines, tailings ponds and effect on native lands.

This new anti-oilsands campaign is sponsored by The Cooperative, a U.K. group of businesses, including banks, pharmacies and grocery stories, that is committed to European goals of reducing carbon emissions, spokesman Colin Baines said.

They want to halt expansion of the oilsands and move into renewable energy as part of the solution to avoid runaway climate change, Baines said from Manchester.... Read more »

James Cameron On Canada Oil Sands: 'Time To Put The Brakes On It' (VIDEO)

In this clip, James Cameron, director of "Avatar," speaks to MSNBC via Skype about his thoughts on his trip to get a first-hand glimpse of the controversial Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada.

Cameron says that because the 142,000-square-kilometer deposit is the second largest in the world next to Saudi Arabia, it has triggered a gold rush of oil companies stampeding to reap the benefits, and that kind of expediency is extremely dangerous.

"The concerns are obvious," Cameron says, attesting that scientific evidence has found carcinogenic toxins from the enormous tailing ponds of the surface mining operations leaking into the water supply, and are most likely airborne as well.... Read more »

U.S. senators propose bill to open flow of oilsands

A pair of United States senators who recently visited Alberta are introducing legislation that would ensure U.S. government agencies can purchase fuel products made from the province's oilsands.

While still in its early stages, the arrival of the "Oil Sands Energy Security Act" should be seen as a vindication of Premier Ed Stelmach's strategy of promoting the oilsands message with key U.S. policy-makers, said Gary Mar, Alberta's top official at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. "We shouldn't take too much away from this at this point . . . but the result is now we have a bill that gives us a strong indication people are understanding our message of what the oilsands are and what they are not," Mar said in a phone interview Friday.... Read more »

U.S. senators table pro-Alberta oilsands bill

EDMONTON — A pair of United States senators who recently visited Alberta are introducing legislation that would ensure U.S. government agencies can purchase fuel products made from the province's oilsands.

While still in its early stages, the arrival of the "Oilsands Energy Security Act" should be seen as a vindication of Premier Ed Stelmach's strategy of promoting the oilsands message with key U.S. policy-makers, said Gary Mar, Alberta's top official at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

"We shouldn't take too much away from this at this point ... but the result is, now we have a bill that gives us a strong indication people are understanding our message of what the oilsands are and what they are not," Mar said in a phone interview Friday.... Read more »

            

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