Saturday, July 27, 2013
Community activists continue to speak out as Alberta's energy regulator approves the expansion of Shell Oil's Jackpine Mine, 70 kilometers (about 43 miles) north of Fort McMurray. The decision would significantly expand the poisonous tar sands - and as only one of ten new tar sands projects awaiting approval. Now it goes to the provincial and federal levels.
The decision came down within days of the 4th Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk and in spite of a designated Joint Review Panel finding that the project would likely cause "irreversible" environmental impacts with "adverse cummulative effects on wetlands; old-growth forests; traditional plant potential areas; wetland reliant species; old-growth reliant species at risk and migratory birds; caribou; biodiversity; and Aboriginal Traditional Land Use, rights, and culture."
Scientists have linked tar sands expansion to climate change, and activists report high rates of cancer in local indigenous communities around the tar sands facilities, along with similar reports in the U.S.
Photo credit, top, via It's Getting Hot In Here, Sept. 2012, Activists protest Jackpine Mine expansion.