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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Canadians want oil sands production cut

"Provincial premiers will meet in Regina this week amid new poll results that show a majority of Canadians think oil sands production should be cut as Canada grapples with reducing greenhouse gases.

The poll, conducted for the group Environmental Defence, finds that 52 per cent of those surveyed want to slow down oil sands development and invest instead in clean-energy job creation. The poll, provided to The Globe and Mail, found that another 29 per cent believe oil sands production should be increased, while 19 per cent don't know.

The issue of global warming is expected to be on the agenda when the premiers gather for meetings in the Saskatchewan capital starting Wednesday. Canada is preparing to join in climate-change talks in Copenhagen later this year, and some provincial premiers have asked to be involved."

To read the remainder of this article go to:

Writer:Brian Laghi Source:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canadians-want-oil-sands-production-cut/article1239504/

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Not only does the oil sands cause an increase in green house gases which is supposed to be a cause of global warming, but a more immediate concern is the evidence that people who live near the oil sands have many more health problems than the rest of the population in Alberta.

According to the website: http://www.ehponline.org/members/2009/117-4/focus.html

"a 2006 analysis of the health status of Fort Chipewyan residents showed that residents have elevated prevalence rates of diabetes, hypertension, renal failure, and lupus. All these diseases have been linked with one or more of the toxics commonly found in tailings pond water. The working group suggested that, in order to examine risks for cancer and other chronic diseases, assessment of the overall health status and risk factor profile of Fort Chipewyan residents would be needed. Future studies should also evaluate the occupational history and employment-related migration pattern of the cancer patients in the community, because many of the Fort Chipewyan residents work or had worked in the oil sands or uranium industries. As the authors pointed out, “Previous studies of cancer risk and occupational exposure have suggested increased risk of leukemia and lung cancer in oil field workers, and increased risk of leukemia, lung cancer, and cancers in gallbladder and extrahepatic bile ducts in uranium miners.”

"Scientists and local subsistence fishers have observed cancerous tumors on whitefish caught near Fort Chipewyan, a community on the northern edge of the Athabasca oil sands. A 2009 study reported a higher-than-expected number of human cancers in the community but was not designed to determine the cause of those cancers."

I have heard on the CBC news that Whitefish caught near Fort Chipewyan have been found to have skin tumors,however, medical experts have been unwilling to suggest that these tumors are due to the byproducts and waste products created by the oil sands.

A Study entitled "Cancer Incidence in Fort Chipewyan" avoided assigning a cause for the cancers they observed, many critics of oil sands development believe it is only a matter of time before a relationship is established with tailings pond leakage. Ecologist Kevin P. Timoney of Treeline Ecological Research in 2007 asserted that abandoned tailings ponds could pose a major health threat to surrounding communities for years to come. “While a mine is in operation, monitoring and pumping of tailing pond leaks is continuous,” he wrote. “No one knows what will happen when a mine has exhausted a site, shuts down its operation, and leaves. Tailings pond abandonment is an unproven technology whose success is predicated on modeling rather than real world experience. . . . The [Alberta oil sands formation] is known to be porous with active subsurface water movements. Billions of cubic meters of contaminated water soon will be sitting untended, with no active pumping, in abandoned ponds adjacent to the Athabasca River.”

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How much influence do ordinary citizens have these days in the political process? Will those residents of the planet who want oil sands development curtailed, until the industry is better able to clean up the dangerous byproducts created by the extraction of the oil sands, be able to convince the necessary government officials and government agencies to legally stop oil sands development in our world, until it is much more environmentally friendly?

With experts on the side of citizens, experts such as Glen Van Der Kraak, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph, Ontario, it might be possible to do something legally . Van Der Kraak has stated publically that "studies of fish exposed to oil sands wastewater consistently find endocrine disruption and impairments of reproductive physiology. For example, in research published in the 1 May 2008 issue of Aquatic Toxicology, Van Der Kraak and colleagues found that goldfish exposed to wastewater from tailings ponds had dramatically lower plasma levels of testosterone and 17β-estradiol than control fish. The prime suspect behind these effects, says Van Der Kraak, is naphthenic acids, compounds that are often present in tailings pond water."

According to the the "Environmental Defence organization, another environmental problem which the development of the Oil Sands is causing, is that of Acid Rain (source:http://oilsandstruth.org/alberta-tar-sands-cause-acid-rain). A report released on Friday, February 15,2008, by the group "says 70 per cent of the sulphur entering Alberta's air ends up in Saskatchewan. "Acid rain is produced by the interaction between water, sulphur and nitrogen oxides. In the past 12 years, at a Saskatchewan site (which was not identified) 200 kilometres downwind from the oilsands, the mean level of acid in precipitation had increased, the report stated, with measurements going from pH 5.3 to 4.1. Normal rainfall has a pH of 5.6.

Saskatchewan Environment ran 10 monitoring stations across the oilsands in the northwest of the province and found a buildup of nitrogen from Alberta, the report stated in a section called Raining Acid on Saskatchewan.


What are the chances of any governmental agency, any government, or any person within Canada being able to force companies involved in the development of the oil sands to stop their activity? I would say pretty remote. I say this because I just read about a northern Alberta physician who publicly aired concerns over carcinogenic pollution from the massive oilsands development. He is being investigated by the province's College of Physicians and Surgeons. The complaint against him comes from none other than Health Canada, which claims the physician caused "undue alarm."

The doctor — Dr John O'Connor of Fort Chipewyan — says he's believes it is the substantial amounts of arsenic that are being dumped into the water in the area by the oil sands project, which might explain why so many of his mostly aboriginal patients are presenting with cancer — including rarer forms like cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer). source:http://www.nationalreviewofmedicine.com/issue/2007/03_30/4_policy_politics1_6.html

At the present time the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons continues to place Dr. O’Connor under investigation. Soon after being placed under investigation, Dr. O’Connor left Alberta!! Nice job Alberta Government and Alberta College of Physicans and Surgeons!!


What has the provincial government of Alberta offered the people of Fort Chipewyan so far? Although "the province" has vowed to do all it can to address the community’s health concerns, and has promised numerous studies to determine the effects of oil sands development on the environment and health of Lake Athabasca’s residents, almost all of these studies have never taken place! When studies were undertaken , the methods used was very questionable from a scientific perspective and no one from the community of Fort Chipewyan was involved in these studies. In fact, the studies also always contradicted previous independent and industry findings, and supported the province’s position that cancer rates and toxicity levels within the region are at normal levels!


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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.