NOTE: An earlier version of this news release misstated the amount of potential liability Canadians face from the Total Joslyn oilsands project due to a calculation error. The correct figures are below.
EDMONTON, AB — Environmental groups are challenging a new oilsands project application that threatens wildlife habitat, is rife with errors and could leave Canadians facing roughly $3 billion in liability.
The Oilsands Environmental Coalition, represented by Ecojustice, opposes the approval of Total E&P Canada's Joslyn North Mine and is arguing for a full assessment of the project's cumulative impacts on wildlife, fish and northern forests, as required by law.
Today the coalition's expert panel — which includes world-renowned climate scientist Dr. James Hansen — will address wildlife impacts, undemonstrated tailings reclamation and reclamation liabilities for Canadians that could exceed $3 billion, and mistakes in Total's application that make its assessment inadequate.
Dr. Hansen will speak on the consequences of Joslyn North's contribution of global warming emissions. The project will significantly increase Alberta and Canada's greenhouse gas emissions.
No greenhouse gas reduction plan exists for Canada. "Indeed, it is implausible that Canada can meet any emissions scenario consistent with stabilizing climate if the tar sands development proceeds," said Dr. Hansen.
"We will present evidence that demonstrates significant declines in wildlife populations," said Simon Dyer, oilsands director of Pembina Institute. "The panel must reject this project until Albertans can be assured wildlife habitat is being protected."
"The assessment of the impacts of oilsands mining is flawed. It fails to take into account two known, disclosed oilsands mines, the additional effects of forest fires and logging, and already declining wildlife populations," said Karin Buss, Ecojustice counsel. "It is an unreliable assessment that does not provide essential information."
Hearings of the joint federal-provincial review panel for the project resumed in Fort McMurray last week and will continue through this week in Sherwood Park.
Director, Oilsands, Pembina Institute
To arrange an interview with Dr. Hansen, please contact:
Director of Communications, Pembina Institute