Forests and Climate Change

Titanic battle for public opinion looms

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

We'll find out next week when movie director James Cameron meets the Alberta oilsands.

Anyone who thinks Cameron isn't an irresistible force has never met a 15-year-old fan of the movie Avatar. And anyone who thinks the oilsands isn't an immovable object has never met Alberta's 39-year-old Conservative government.

The two are headed for a possible confrontation next week when Cameron begins his self-organized tour of northeastern Alberta to see for himself the world's largest energy development, the one he called a "black eye" on Canada's environment record last April.... Read more »

Mikisew Cree withdraw constitutional challenge of mining project

EDMONTON — The Mikisew Cree First Nation withdrew its constitutional challenge of an oilsands mining project Wednesday in exchange for an undisclosed sum of money and a confidential "social contract."

The hearing to review Total's Joslyn North Mine project adjourned on Tuesday, after the joint federal-provincial panel was told the Mikisew Cree would challenge the project on constitutional grounds.

"Mikisew's concerns with the mine were borne out of frustration with the governments of Canada and Alberta over the mismanagement of oilsands lands in their traditional territory," said the band's lawyer, Don Mallon.... Read more »

$2B oilsands expansion approved

EDMONTON — Cenovus Energy's Foster Creek underground oilsands project has won approval for an estimated $2-billion expansion that will see 1,000 construction jobs created at the site 120 kilometres north of Bonnyville.

The Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board approval announced Monday covers the next three phases of expansion (F, G and H) for Alberta's oldest and largest steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) project.

"We will continue building the project in phases, making improvements with each one," spokeswoman Rhona DelFrari said.

Engineering on Phase F is already underway and preliminary ground work is expected to start soon.

Cenovus has its own construction management team, and the "cookie cutter" approach to the modules for each phase has resulted in industry-leading efficiencies.... Read more »

Back to nature a tricky task

FORT MCMURRAY - In the checkerboard of test ponds at Syncrude's wetland research site, Mother Nature has won some games and lost others.

Among the squares, there are certain ones with barely a sprig of green poking out from the silty water.

Other experimental combinations are more successful, though it takes a scientific eye to pick out the real winners. That's because the target is the recreation of a specific kind of wetland, called a fen. A fen is a wetland that is fed by groundwater, which is a heck of a thing to recreate in a landscape that was dug up extensively and then, in some cases, filled in with tailings.

Oilsands operations are increasingly striving to reach these milestones, partly because government is ordering them to do it in their approvals, but also because there is mounting pressure to improve the environmental image of oilsands development.... Read more »

Sierra Club Intervention

Click thumbnail for a larger version of the footprint area.


Sierra Club Prairie Submission Against Total Joslyn North Mine Application

The Sierra Club Prairie submission can be downloaded / viewed here

Sustainability Assessment by Stephen Hazell M.Sc. LL.B. can be downloaded / viewed here

An Assessment of Water Quality, Sediment Quality, Benthic Invertebrates, and Hydrology of the Joslyn North Mine Project can be downloaded / viewed here

 ... Read more »


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