Environmental groups oppose Total Joslyn North mine

Oil Sands
Image by 4BlueEyes Pete Williamson via Flickr

Edmonton – Environmental groups are challenging a new oil-sands project application that threatens wildlife habitat, is rife with errors and could leave Canadians facing roughly $3-billion in liability.

The Oil Sands Environmental Coalition, represented by Ecojustice, opposes the approval of Total E&P Canada’s Joslyn North Mine and is arguing for a full assessment of the project’s cumulative impacts on wildlife, fish and northern forests, as required by law.

The coalition’s expert panel — which includes world-renowned climate scientist Dr. James Hansen — is addressing wildlife impacts, undemonstrated tailings reclamation and reclamation liabilities for Canadians that could exceed $3-billion, and mistakes in Total’s application that make its assessment inadequate.

Dr. Hansen has warned about Joslyn North’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, which he claims will be significantly increased by the project. No greenhouse gas reduction plan exists for Canada. “Indeed, it is implausible that Canada can meet any emissions scenario consistent with stabilizing climate if the tar-sands development proceeds,” said Dr. Hansen.

“We will present evidence that demonstrates significant declines in wildlife populations,” said Simon Dyer, oil-sands director of Pembina Institute. “The panel must reject this project until Albertans can be assured wildlife habitat is being protected.”

“The assessment of the impacts of oil-sands mining is flawed. It fails to take into account two known, disclosed oil-sands mines, the additional effects of forest fires and logging, and already declining wildlife populations,” said Karin Buss, Ecojustice counsel. “It is an unreliable assessment that does not provide essential information.”

Hearings of the joint federal-provincial review panel for the project resumed in Fort McMurray last week and will continue through this week in Sherwood Park.

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