Two weeks ago, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development of Canada’s Parliament abruptly cancelled a report on the impacts of oil sands development on water. Andrew Nikiforuk has written an article for The Tyee arguing that the risks are serious and regulation has been inadequate.
Special concerns have been raised about naphthenic acids – toxic substances that was nonetheless excluded from the list of toxic or harmful chemicals examined by the report. These substances take decades to break down, and have been shown to harm liver, heart, and brain functions in mammals, as well as harm wildlife.
All this is another example of how – after you tally up the health, environmental, and climate impacts – the oil sands are far less of a wealth generator than they appear to be. Rather than release a report that would deepen the awareness of Canadians on that issue, the committee has opted to cancel it and destroy all the drafts.
[Update: 5:17pm] I have written letters opposing this decision to the chair and vice-chairs of the committee: James Bezan, Bernard Bigras, and
David J. McGuinty. As always, any Canadian MP can be mailed for free at: House of Commons; Parliament Buildings; Ottawa, Ontario; Canada; K1A 0A6. The phone numbers for MP offices are also online.