Tar Sands Toxic (?) water spill!

Tar Sands Toxic (?) water spill!

We have previously referred to Panel sponsored by the Walter Gordon Foundation at which Scott Vaughn, the former Climate Change Commissioner, and David Manning, the Representative of the Alberta Government in Washington, spoke.  On many topics their views diverged, but on one topic they agreed.

The Federal and Alberta Governments agreed to have a joint program for government monitoring of the impact of the tar sands development on the environment.  Peter Kent, Environment Minister, advised in February, 2012 that details of the monitoring program would be available before the end of 2012.  Both Vaughn and Manning noted that these details were still not available, and questioned why there should be such delays.

So, when “waste water” from the Suncor tar sands energy site spilled into the Athabasca River, the world had to wait for Suncor to provide information.  Before releasing the details Suncor down played the significance of this leak, both as to quantity and content, and re-assured us that it did not contain bitumen = tar.

The Globe and Mail carried the Suncor account of the leak with the headline “Leak had ‘negligible impact’ Suncor says.”  At the conclusion of the article the Editor of the Globe added this unusual notation:

“An earlier version of this story appears on page B- 4 of today’s Report on Business.  Suncor Energy provided the above information on the spill after that section went to press”.

We expect that the final information on the spill will be objective and accurate.  Whether it justifies Suncor’s optimism remains to be seen!

The real losers in this episode are the 2 governments that dragged their feet on the monitoring program, so when a spill occurred they had to rely upon the culprit for information.

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