Quite awhile ago, P’n’P reported that even former Premier of Alberta, Peter Lougheed, thought the tar sands development had problems. Recently, P’n’P reported that the tar sands is the biggest industrial project in human history. Even the Brits are getting involved in the biggest environment crime in history!
At Bali this week we have seen our Prime Minister, Steven Harper, and his Minister Responsible for the Environment, John Baird, completely embarrass Canada and Canadians on the world scene by sabotaging climate talks and including representatives of the oil and gas industry in their delegation to the world conference. And now, Mr. Harper is trying to sell nukes as safe! (Like we didn’t see that coming?) P’n’P was feeling pretty depressed yesterday.
Well, today is also a good news day. Today, an action alert from the Sierra Club landed in my inbox. In it, a link to Tar Sands Time Out, a campaign calling for a moratorium on the development of the tar sands, backed up with a whole lot of important information about the tar sands and its impact on people, the environment and other creatures. Also included is a link to detailed action items as well as conclusions from an independent report regarding the tar sands:
Action Alert! Tar Sands are NOT more important than the health and safety of communities in Canada!
A recent health study, peer-reviewed and released to the public late last week shows damming evidence that the governments of Alberta and Canada have been ignoring evidence of toxic contamination on downstream communities.
The report, conducted by Alberta scientist Dr. Kevin P. Timoney draws attention to several areas of deficit in knowledge on contaminants downstream but draws clear conclusions that “people and biota of the Athabasca River Delta and western Lake Athabasca are exposed to higher levels of some contaminants than are those upstream.”
Conclusions drawn from the Timoney study include:
• People most at risk of health effects are those who eat an abundance of food of the land and from the water (wild game and fish);
• Mercury levels in fish used for human consumption present a serious concern. If US EPA standards are applied, all walleye, all female whitefish and ~90% of male whitefish exceed subsistence fisher guidelines for mercury consumption.
• When scientific data and traditional knowledge on fish deformities are considered together, they indicate that rates of fish abnormalities may be higher than expected, may be increasing, and may be related to declines in water quality.
• Overall the primary contaminants of concern may be arsenic, mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) concentrations of these contaminants already high, appear to be rising.
• Alberta sponsored report on cancer risk due to lifetime arsenic exposure was reviewed and was found to have used questionable statistical methods and assumptions and underestimated levels of arsenic in water and sediment and the fish consumption rate of many Fort Chipewyan residents
• Data on river and Lake Athabasca has become privately held in recent years.
• A peer reviewed epidemiologic and toxicologic study of disease rates and levels of exposure to environmental toxins in communities of the lower Athabasca River is needed.
Well, today P’n’P is taking action. First, we are forgiving Harper and Baird for being human. Everyone makes mistakes. However, forgiving does not equal accepting the mistakes or forgetting. P’n’P will ensure all the country remembers this when the government falls (and may it be blessedly soon!). And now, off to read more about this campaign.