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Friday, May 21, 2010

The In Situ Oil Sands Report Card

The Pembina Institute has published a report card which looks at how environmentally friendly
in-situ oil sands development is within the Province of Alberta. According to the document
entitled "The In Situ Oil Sands Report Card", which can be read in pdf form at the following

"About one-fifth of Alberta is available for an environmentally intense form of oil sands development
known as in situ, or “in place,” extraction. The in situ process involves drilling several wells into
the oil sands deposit, and then heating the oil sands underground using high-temperature steam so the
bitumen can flow to a well and be pumped to the surface." In a new report by the Pembina Institute
entitled, "Drilling Deeper", these experts  "compared in situ projects on 17 environmental indicators

grouped in five categories: general environmental management, land, air emissions, water and
 climate change."

"The highest-scoring projects in the survey were Suncor’s Firebag, with 60%, and Cenovus’s
Foster Creek, with 57%. Canadian Natural’s Primrose/Wolf Lake project received the lowest score of 25%."

As far as  I am concerned this is a shocking revelation concerning these projects.If the best this industry
can do is score 60% on an evaluation and the worst score they had is 25% what does this say
about these projects and the organizations running them??

The report continues by stating the following:

"Very few in situ operators have established absolute reduction targets for air emissions, water use and greenhouse gas emissions that go beyond regulated requirements. No project received full points on these indicators."
• "Aside from a modest commitment from Suncor, no company invested in biodiversity offsets to compensate for the terrestrial impacts associated the development of its facility.
• Only two companies (Imperial Oil and Shell) have third-party accredited environmental management systems.
• Only three companies (Suncor, Cenovus and Shell) financially support the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute and its province-wide biodiversity monitoring program."

"On average, in situ projects have higher greenhouse gas and sulphur dioxide emission intensities than mining. This means that in situ projects contribute more to climate change and acid deposition per barrel of bitumen produced than oil sands mining. Some in situ projects also have higher total water use intensities than the average for mining.
When the land disturbance and fragmentation effects associated with natural gas production are considered, the influence on wildlife habitat of in situ operations can reach levels that are equal to and sometimes greater than mining."

It is nice to know that someone is watching the Government of Alberta and these
In-Situ Oil Sands companies to ensure that the health of the wildlife and the health of humans
 in these areas where oil sands development is occurring is not being adversely affected!

These projects have a long way to go to ensure that their activity is not hazardous to life in Alberta,
and to the companies with these in situ projects, all I can say is your behavior as a company is
being watched!

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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.