Sierra Club Prairie comments on ERCB approval of Total Tar Sands Upgrader

Sheila Muxlow, Director with the Sierra Club Prairie, had the following to say regarding Alberta's Energy Resources and Conservation Board approval of Total's Tar Sands Upgrader in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

"This approval is a major disappointment, but sadly not a surprise. The ERCB has a 100% approval rating on tar sands projects, despite the mounting environmental and health costs.  From the beginning the hearing was weighted in Total's favour, with the health assessment of the project conducted by a consultant with ties to big oil companies, while denying a number of directly affected community members from being able to officially testify. Thus the outcome is no surprise that the upgrader is approved with minimal conditions that do not adequately address the serious health concerns in the region. Although there are conditions on the sulphur output, there are no conditions on nitrogen dioxide or benzine emissions - two major chemicals linked to respiratory illness and blood cancer respectively.  This approval is an irresponsible move that furthers our economic dependency on the tar sands, privileging the interests of big oil profits over the rights and health of local people in Alberta."