Oil Sands

Statement on the Supreme Court of Canada Ruling on the Alberta Orphan Well Association Appeal

Edmonton, Alta. – With its ruling today, the Supreme Court of Canada has rightfully put the health of our environment ahead of banks. Companies cannot shed their environmental liabilities in order to pay banks back first. This ruling is a win for all Canadians, as there are massive outstanding environmental liabilities in many sectors, not just oil and gas.

Alberta’s methane regulations will fail to meet provincial reduction target

Province fails to demonstrate how carbon price and methane rules will achieve the GHG reductions needed to match federal rules

CALGARY, AB – Based on new comprehensive modelling, Alberta’s methane regulations will allow oil and gas companies to release far greater volumes of harmful methane pollution than if they followed the federal methane regulations enacted earlier this year by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).   In Alberta, the ECCC rules would reduce methane pollution in 2025 by almost 35 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) while the Alberta rules released today will reduce only 22 million tonnes of CO2e.  This equals a reduction of 36%, clearly failing to achieve Alberta’s own 45% methane reduction commitment, squandering one of the highest-value, lowest-cost opportunities to deliver significant progress towards Alberta’s and Canada’s climate goals.  Regrettably, recent research shows Alberta’s proposed carbon pricing regime offers no rescue for this missed opportunity because the carbon price does not cover, nor apply to the majority of methane emissions.

Canada’s Oil and Gas Companies Weakening National Climate Plan While Expanding Production, Says New Report

Federal Government Must Double Climate Targets And Curtail Oil Expansion To Limit to 1.5°

Katowice, Poland—A new report released today at COP 24 shows oil and gas emissions in Canada are rising and that oil and gas companies in Canada are systematically weakening and delaying Canada’s climate plan and further climate ambition while reaping more federal subsidies and continuing to increase oil production.

Exemptions from federal environmental review for oil and gas projects unjustified, say environmental groups

Ensuring federal assessment of high-carbon projects is critical if Canada is to step up Paris Agreement ambitions at COP 24

OTTAWA – Some of Canada’s largest and most polluting industrial projects may get a free pass on federal review under a new law if the government capitulates to industry demands, warn leading environmental groups. The groups are calling on Canada to expand the list of projects it reviews to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental damage from proposed industrial development are minimized.

Op-ed: Hold energy industry responsible for clean-up costs

An op-ed from Joshua Buck, Alberta climate program manager at Environmental Defence, on the $260-billion unfunded environmental liability in the oil and gas sector in Alberta:

Albertans have had a long-standing and mutually beneficial bargain with the oil and gas industry. Basically, the deal was, the companies can take Albertans’ resources, practically for free, but in exchange, they’ll create high-paying jobs for Albertans. They’ll create the conditions for a strong economy, low taxes, and a high quality of life.

But it looks like we have been duped. Because there was another, hidden part of the deal: massive clean-up costs that the companies aren’t able to pay. Costs that will likely be left to Albertans to pay, long into the future.

Read the full op-ed in the Edmonton Journal

Canada must assess toxicity of tailings pond chemicals, enviro groups argue

CALGARY – Environmental groups say the Government of Canada is failing to meet its legal responsibilities by exempting tailings pond chemicals from a recent screening assessment.

In a comment letter sent to Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada on behalf of Environmental Defence and Keepers of the Athabasca on Oct. 17, Ecojustice lawyers called on the government to reconsider naphthenic acids from oil sands process-affected water in assessing whether these chemicals should be regulated under law.

Oil Sands Environmental Coalition, Ecojustice give testimony on question of Frontier oilsands mine

FORT MCMURRAY – Expert witnesses for the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition, also known as OSEC, gave testimony Monday at a Joint Panel Review hearing on the Frontier Oil Sands Mine, a project that, if built, would be one of the largest oil sands mines ever developed.

“We have serious concern about the long-term economic viability of this project, and whether any economic benefits from this project are acceptable for Canadians in exchange for the carbon emissions this one project alone represents,” said Nikki Way, a fossil fuels analyst at Pembina.

Alberta Energy Regulator approves another deficient oilsands tailings plan

Pembina Institute reacts to approval of Syncrude’s Aurora North Mine tailings plan

EDMONTON — Jodi McNeill, technical and policy analyst at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) latest tailings management plan approval:

“This is the fifth approved tailings management plan that doesn’t comply with the AER’s Directive 085. Syncrude’s plan relies on composite tailings (CT) and water capping to treat its tailings. The AER questions whether CT deposits can support final closure landscapes, and water capping is an unproven technology that is not authorized by the regulator.

Public Risk For Oilsands Mines Clean-up Costs Must Be Removed

Albertans face unacceptable risks from unfunded oil sands mine clean-up costs. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) believes it is time for tar sands mine operators to pay full security for their clean-up obligations and remove this burden from the public. 

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