Statement on Alberta Government’s Draft Lower Athabasca Integrated Regional Plan, by Gillian McEachern, Environmental Defence
“Today’s announcement is yet more evidence that the federal government needs to play a greater role in putting limits on pollution from the tar sands. Alberta has failed once again, after more than a decade of broken promises, to rein in the rising air and water pollution coming from tar sands production. And, it doesn’t even pretend to deal with global warming pollution even though tar sands are the fastest growing source in the country.
The Plan released today does not set limits on what tar sands companies can put into the air and water but instead only engages in a process to address problems once environmental limits have been exceeded. It also fails to even set environmental limits for naphthenic acids, which the Alberta government itself has identified as the “primary source of toxicity” in tar sands tailings, and other pollutants of concern for human and environmental health.
The next federal government needs to step up to its legal responsibilities and act where Alberta is failing. Canada’s international reputation, and the country’s energy future, is at risk. The federal and provincial governments need to work together to strike a panel of independent scientists to recommend science-based limits on pollution, water use and land destruction in the tar sands. The federal government then needs to adopt and enforce binding regulations to keep the impacts within those limits and make sure tar sands companies do their fair share to cut Canada’s carbon emissions.”
For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, (647) 280-9521 (cell)