Green groups create huge visual to give Albertans a look at tailings cost of Total approval

Edmonton — The steps of the Provincial legislature were transformed today in an attempt to give Albertans an idea of the amount of tailings, French tar sands giant Total, will create in Alberta if Total’s new mine site is approved. Representative from Greenpeace, the Rainforest Action Network and Sierra Club Prairie set-up 60, 200 litre rain barrels which is what Total will dump into Alberta’s eco-system every 30 seconds with this project.

“We wanted to set-up this visual to show people just how massive these tailing lakes are and how many toxic tailings Total will dump into the environment if the government doesn’t start saying no to these multinational oil giants,” said Mike Hudema, Climate and Energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada. “This visual shows the toxic footprint these companies will leave on Alberta’s landscape. Hopefully this will give people a sense of what we risk creating.”

The visual was set-up on the final day of the hearing process for French tar sands giant Total new tar sands mine. If approved Total’s Joslyn Mine would spew 1.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, release 12.5 billion litres of toxic tailings waste, and remove and pollute up to 22 billion litres of fresh water from the Athabasca River each year, in addition to destroying 7,000 hectares of boreal forest — equivalent to 13,000 football fields.

“The tar sands area is already out of control. Approving a new mine will further devastate this area, it will pour more toxins into our environment and create another huge tailing lake, over 13,000 footballs fields in size, at a time where the Alberta government is supposedly trying to get rid of them,” said Dustin Johnson, Energy campaigner with Sierra Club Prairie. “A responsible government would turn down this project and start building a green energy future.”

Just yesterday one of NASA’s top scientists, James Hansen told a panel reviewing the proposed tar sands mine in northern Alberta that the resource should simply be left in the ground.

“Expert after expert, report after report, has detailed the impacts the tar sands are having on downstream communities and Alberta’s ecosystem. People are already getting sick we can’t approve another massive mine in this region,” said Eriel Deranger with the Rainforest Action Network. “We need to deal with the toxic mess we have already created before we even consider adding to it.”

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Photos of the visual available at

For more information, please contact:

  • Mike Hudema, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, 780-504-5601
  • Dustin Johnson, Energy campaigner, Sierra Club Prairie, 587-588-5890   
  • Eriel Deranger, Freedom from oil campaigner, Rainforest Action Network, 780-903-6598