Mike De Souza reports for the Vancouver Sun/Postmedia News:
Contamination of a major western Canadian river basin from oilsands operations is a “high-profile concern” for downstream communities and wildlife, says a newly-released “secret” presentation prepared last spring by Environment Canada that highlighted numerous warnings about the industry’s growing footprint on land, air, water and the climate.
The warnings from the department contrast with recent claims made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment Minister Peter Kent that the industry is being unfairly targeted by environmentalists who exaggerate its impacts on nature and people.
The presentation noted figures from the Canadian Energy Research Institute, a collaboration among industry, government and academics, that estimate the oilsands sector is responsible for more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada, and will contribute more than $1.7 trillion to the country’s economy over the next 25 years.
But it warned that Alberta and other parts of Western Canada are facing a steep economic and ecological price tag for failing to crack down on the industry’s collateral damage…