Toronto – More than 30 groups and faith leaders from Canada, U.S. and France filed their objection today to a new tar sands strip mine proposed by the French oil giant Total. Today is the deadline for comment to a Joint Review Panel struck by the Governments of Canada and Alberta to conduct an environmental assessment for the proposed project.
“France is taking a leadership role in tackling global warming pollution at home, yet its biggest oil company wants to undermine that leadership here in Canada,” said Matt Price, Policy Director for Environmental Defence Canada. “With clean energy alternatives now readily available, this project must be rejected by the Panel as not in the public interest.”
According to Total’s own numbers, the project will create global warming pollution, destroy land and create toxic waste, among other adverse environmental effects:
·        The project itself will result in one and a half million tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution each year, equivalent to putting more than 270,000 cars on the road.
·        It will destroy seven thousand hectares of land, equivalent to almost six times the size of the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, with no realistic hope of restoring these areas to the same natural state they were in before.
·        It will produce 12.5 billion litres of toxic tailings waste each year, and over the project life it will create a volume large enough to fill more 100 sports stadiums, without any proven plan to keep these toxic materials from entering the region’s lands and waters.
·        It will produce 2,740 tonnes of air pollution each year that causes acid rain.
·        It will remove and pollute up to 22 billion litres of fresh water from the Athabasca River each year.
Neither the Canadian nor Albertan governments have set virtually any caps on overall greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, water pollution, fresh water use, and land destruction in the tar sands.
Those opposing the project include Environmental Defence Canada, Equiterre, Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth France, and the Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia and PEI.
For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)