I am an environmentalist. I believe all people have a role to play in protecting the environment and the eco-systems we live in. Even more so for us who claim a dedication to Christian principles. We were created by God to be stewards of all He created.
Genesis 1: 28; And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”.
It is that word, “DOMINION”, which means REGENCY. God granted us regency in His creation. We, mankind, are to, use the land, the seas and all God has abundantly supplied but, we are to watch over it, take care of it, and return it to Him unsullied. God has asked us to be conservationists, environmentalists, ecologists and take care of this earth. Perhaps, at least in part, it is our failure to look after this earth that the final act of the creation story is to create a new earth, one fit for His Holy Kingdom.
I will admit, I get very judgmental over environment issues, especially towards those whose authority is to look after the affairs of our Country, Province/State, or community. Yes, I am referring to politicians I live in Alberta, Canada and I realize that even though I am retired, much of the benefits I enjoy come from the resource revenues created by the Oil Sands industry. Some call it the Tar Sands, probably a more fit name but, that is another debate.
The last thing I want in this matter is to have the Oil Sands shut down. That would serve no one. What I would like to see is proper management applied to this resource. Both the Federal and Provincial Governments know the problems with pollution, they have conducted numerous studies, they know the solutions and yet due to heavy lobbying pressure by the oil companies involved, they choose to do nothing environmentally constructive. They boast about the monies the project brings in, they spread economic fear that unnecessary meddling will create economic disaster.
What I don’t understand is why the laws to protect the environment and ecology which are already in place are not enforced over the industries involved with the oil sands.
Several months ago a government authorized study conducted by the Univ. of Alberta confirmed that pollution, directly attributed to oil sands operations, is having a detrimental effect on the environment and the ecology in a wide path, mainly east,(prevailing winds) surrounding the Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo region. These reports were not released to the public and scientists who worked on the report were put under gag order. The report was eventually leaked by a subordinate several weeks later.
I wrote to my Member of Parliament, Blaine Calkins, on this matter and received this reply:
Dear Mr. Tilley,
Thank you for your letter concerning the recent study done by Environment Canada that confirmed the studies done by Dr. Schindler.
As Environment Canada noted in their report, the levels of containments found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development. Consequently, Environment Canada has decided to do further tests in an effort to better understand the levels of contaminants in the Oil Sands area.
“…the levels of contaminants found in the samples were consistent with contaminants that have been found in areas with no development.” Of course they are consistent – they are the same contaminants blown there by winds coming off the oil sands.
In other words; “We will continue to do nothing.”
I also asked him about the ‘Gag Order’ muzzling the UofA scientists, he replied:
With regards to your comments about monitoring reports being kept secret, and scientists being ‘gagged’, it simply isn’t happening. The process of making reports public is not new, and has not been changed by our Government.
OK, Let’s hear from the scientists themselves after the report was leaked. Watch the following news video.
Original Air Date: Monday, November 05, 2012
The public is learning Environment Canada knew of oil sands contamination and muzzled its scientists. What fallout will those revelations cause?
We speak with David Schindler, international acclaimed and outspoken environmental biologist from the University of Alberta.
This week a new report was released by Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario This time the report was published directly to major news sources. This report confirms the findings of the previous UofA reports of last November.
Margaret Munro, Postmedia News | Jan 7, 2013
Leading federal and academic scientists have uncovered “compelling” evidence that Alberta’s oil sands operations have been sending toxins into the atmosphere for decades.
Industry’s role as a decades-long contributor of PAHs to oil sands lake ecosystems is now clearly evident
The team has found “striking” increases in contaminants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at the bottom of six lakes up to 90 kilometres from the massive oil sands operations in northeastern Alberta.
PAHs began to climb in the lake sediments in the 1970s and are now up to 23 times higher than 1960 levels. It says the increased PAHs coincided with oil sands development and the compounds have a distinct “petrogenic” fingerprint different from PAHs generated by natural phenomenon like fire.
Levels of the toxins have almost tripled since the 1960s in Namur Lake, the most remote lake tested. It is about 90 kilometres northwest of oil sands operations in a provincial park known for its fishing. The PAHs are up to 23 times higher in the other lakes, which are within 35 kilometres of the oil sands operations.
“Given the planned expansion of the oil sands, the trend will likely accelerate in future,” says co-author John Smol, a Canada research chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University.
Government and industry response is; “that many pollutants found in the lakes and rivers of northeastern Alberta are naturally occurring and leached from the bitumen deposits themselves.”
In other words; “We choose to do nothing.”