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Monday, June 15, 2015
Canadian Leaders Know Tar Sands Huge Risk
A document recently released under Canada's access-to-information law reveals that Canadian government officials have been aware of the proliferation of contaminants associated with tar sands mining even as they continues to promote industry expansion with minimal regulation. The January 2015 briefing note, prepared for Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford, discusses findings from a tar sands monitoring report published in December 2014 describing dangerous concentrations of iron and cadmium in Alberta's wetlands and of phosphorus and nitrogen in the Athabasca River.
In addition, increased concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the toxic tailings ponds near tar sands strip mines are raising PAH levels in the atmosphere, which can lead to human health concerns like DNA damage and impaired development. The briefing note also highlights serious declines in species that rely on old forest habitat, which has been decimated by mining operations. Yet even with the knowledge furnished by this briefing note, the Canadian government has continued to promote the expansion of the tar sands industry, particularly through its support for tar sands pipelines like Keystone XL and Energy East.
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