Monday, June 16, 2008


The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is holding an Oil and Gas Investment Symposium in Calgary from June 16-18. The event brings together over 85 companies and 375 investors from Canada, the USA, and around the world - many of these folks are big funders in the Alberta Tar Sands, with others looking to expand into that market.

Today, on the first day of their meeting, they had some unwelcome guests.

Activists from the Alberta Environmental Network (AEN) showed up to tell the big shots they are not thrilled with what development of the oilsands is having on the water they drink.

They offered to share their water with those at the meeting. Their were no takers.

Members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Mikisew Cree First Nation joined AEN at the demonstration..

Community members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, located downstream from Alberta's tar sands, continue to experience high rates of rare cancers and auto-immune diseases they believe are linked to the development of the tar sands.

"Investors need to know that our land, our lakes and our people are being poisoned by tar sands development so they can decide, with full disclosure, if they still want to put their money in a human rights and environmental nightmare," said Lionel Lepine, a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

"The tar sands have become Canada's ever expanding black hole and by the end of this conference we're hoping investors see that the same hole will sink their money," said Leah Henderson of ForestEthics.

AEN says at their website:

"While people living in communities downstream from tar sands developments continue to experience devastatingly high rates of rare cancers, while Alberta's lands and waters are contaminated with cancer-causing toxins and are transformed from pristine Boreal forest into what former Alberta Premier Lougheed refers to as a "moonscape," investors in the industry and corporations continue to make record profits. Just weeks after 500 ducks died landing on a toxic tailings pond in Alberta's tar sands region, and Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach announced his government's intention to launch a $25 million advertising campaign to depict Alberta as an "Environmentally-friendly" province to the rest of the world, investors in the most destructive project on Earth are gathering to promote their interests and ensure the tar sands continue to expand, at the expense of the environment and the health of downstream communities!"

Oilsands are deposits of bitumen, a molasses-like viscous oil that will not flow unless heated or diluted with lighter hydrocarbons. They are contained in three major areas beneath 140,200* square kilometres of north-eastern Alberta - an area larger than the state of Florida.

Tar sands oil is sent to the U.S. Midwest and Rockies for upgrading and refining. U.S. refineries are proposing major expansions to handle promises of larger supplies. Last summer the BP refinery on the shores of Lake Michigan created a public uproar when its plan for tar sands expansion included dumping more pollutants into the Lake.

In addition to the problems of torn up forests and toxic lagoons, the process for making the synthetic crude produces three times the greenhouse gases per barrel as conventional oil production.

The respected Pembina Institute in a report released today says Alberta should not approve more oilsands refineries near Edmonton until the province has a solid plan to limit the fresh water they will use and to better manage the pollution they will produce.

The Institute says nine upgraders are expected to begin operating northeast of the capital between 2015 and 2020.

The Oilsands Fever report says together they will consume 10 times as much water as the City of Edmonton each year and spew 45 megatons of greenhouses gases - the same amount that 10-million vehicles produce.

The following is from 660 News.

Demonstrators protest environmental impact of oil sands

Protesters converged on a downtown hotel Monday, trying to bring attention to the effects of the oilsands on their drinking water.

About 40 members of the Alberta Environmental Network staged the demonstration near the investor's symposium hosted by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The Network is made up of members of the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and other environmental groups. Representatives are arguing that development of the oilsands should stop because it is affecting the quality of water, air and land in their area, and that in turn is impacting the health of the residents.

Protesters were inviting investors to take a drink of water from their local river; however, by the end of the demonstration, not one person had taken them up on the offer.

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