Sierra Club calls for TOTAL rejection of Tar Sands Joslyn Mine

EDMONTON — The Joint Review Panel should not approve TOTAL’s Joslyn North tar sands mine, said Sierra Club Prairie, in its final submissions today at the ongoing hearings. After days of expert testimony and cross-examination, Total’s proponents were unable to deny the negative environmental impacts of their new mine proposal. The evidence presented by NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen pertaining to climate change impacts, Petr Cizek pertaining to the gaps in accounting for cumulative negative effects, and Dr. Bill Donahue regarding water contamination were particularly condemning.

“The Panel should not approve this project because TOTAL has relied heavily on highly suspect water quality information from the discredited industry-led RAMP program, and because TOTAL’s cumulative effects study is completely unrealistic,” remarks Sheila Muxlow, Director of Sierra Club Prairie. “The hearings in Fort McMurray and Edmonton have clearly demonstrated that the Joslyn North Mine proposal would not create an outcome in the public interest and would instead download the long-term costs on residents of Alberta.  From risk exposure and increased health consequences, to yet more toxic lakes and unsustainable watershed river levels, the costs will fair outweigh the benefits.”

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. While these effects are residual inside the province, most of the money Total would generate by selling the bitumen would flow to shareholders outside of Alberta.

“Peer-reviewed scientific literature clearly illuminates existing water quality concerns in the Athabasca River, yet TOTAL tries to maintain that there are no detectable effects based on industry led RAMP monitoring” explains Stephen Hazell, who is representing Sierra Club Prairie at the hearings.  “The Panel cannot possibly decide that the Joslyn North Project in combination with other oil sands projects will not add to the significant adverse environmental effects on the Athabasca. At the very least, the panel should wait until the two panels of scientists appointed by federal environmental minister Jim Prentice and Premier Ed Stelmach have reported back.”

‘TOTAL‘s environmental assessment disregards the cumulative environmental effects that the Joslyn Mine will have and shows a blatant disregard for the health and lives of people in downstream communities and the wildlife in the region.  An already devastated region doesn’t need more of this trouble, this project needs to be totally rejected” said Dustin Johnson, Energy Campaigner for Sierra Club Prairie. “We stand by the testimony of experts like Dr. James Hansen who told the Panel earlier this week that the tar sands and other unconventional oil reserves must be kept in the ground if climatically-dangerous atmospheric concentrations of GHG emissions are to be avoided.”

The Joint Review Panel for the Joslyn Mine hearing is comprised of members from Alberta's ERCB as well as a Government of Canada appointee. The Joint Review Panel makes ERCB decisions under Alberta law relating to the Project and makes recommendations to the federal cabinet with respect to federal decisions relating to the Project.

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  • For More Info Please Contact:
  • Stephen Hazell, Advisor, Sierra Club Prairie
    613-724-1908 [email protected]                                    
  • Sheila Muxlow, Director Sierra Club Prairie
    780-660-0312 [email protected]
  • Dustin Johnson, Campaigner, Sierra Club Prairie
    587-588-5890 [email protected]