On June 4, 2009, the Pembina Institute distributed copies of a new resource, Clearing the Air on Oilsands Myths, to key Canadian and U.S. decision makers. It identifies a growing body of oilsands “spin” from federal and Alberta politicians and the oilsands industry.
Whether they are dismissing evidence of leaking tailings lakes, ignoring the severe disturbance associated with in situ oilsands development or making claims of leadership on climate change, government and industry have sought to muddy public discussion about the environmental impacts of oilsands development through dozens of claims that fail to provide the full story.
“Government and industry brochures and presentations that defend status quo oilsands development are littered with misleading statements,” notes lead report author Jennifer Grant. “We wanted to make sure that decision makers, the public and the media had access to the full story when considering and discussing oilsands development.”
The oilsands are being internationally scrutinized for their large per-barrel greenhouse gas emissions intensity, the overall growth in greenhouse gas pollution, the production of toxic tailings waste and the lack of rules to limit cumulative environmental impacts to air, water and wildlife.
“Downplaying these impacts with often selective and spurious comparisons risks further diminishing Canada's international reputation,” says Grant.
Clearing the Air on Oilsands Myths provides the full context and facts about oilsands development with concise, referenced information on its environmental impacts.
“It’s been our experience that government and industry are placing greater emphasis on public relations than public policy,” says Simon Dyer, the Pembina Institute’s Oilsands Program Director. “Playing with numbers and miscommunicating the impacts associated with oilsands development is irresponsible and shifts attention away from where it’s really needed — implementing strong laws and policies to ensure that oilsands development occurs responsibly.”
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For more information contact:
The Pembina Institute
Oilsands Program Director
The Pembina Institute