Friday, August 20, 2010

No science, please, we're the tar sands

Remember that two year Environment Committee study on the tarsands that was ultimately shredded because the four parties at the table couldn't agree on the wording of the witnesses' testimony? The Lib members of that committee have now released their own report on the testimony and as Andrew Nikiforuk reports at The Tyee, it is "scathing".
~ Athabasca River is being polluted
~12 barrels of freshwater required to produce one barrel of crude
~world's largest man-made dams contain 170 square kilometres of toxic mining waste and they're leaking
~steam plants could affect aquifers over an area the size of Florida, using 3½ to 6 barrels of groundwater to extract one barrel of bitumen
Most alarming is the report's contention that science-based policy has been replaced by "bureaucratic compromise", with the federal government entirely abrogatiing its responsibility to monitor and protect our water supplies. The Alberta government just flat out refused to appear before the committee at all.

You're shocked I'm sure.

Wait. Did I say our water supplies?
A year ago Alberta Energy spokesman Tim Markle said : "The Chinese takeover is good news for Alberta."

He was referring to tarsands in northern Alberta being developed by the Chinese state investment fund in partnership with Calgary-based Penn West Energy Trust. China National Petroleum Company obtained 11 oilsands leases and the Chinese Offshore Oil Corporation invested $150 million in Calgary-based Meg Energy. Sinopec has bought into Syncrude. PetroChina, also state-owned, holds a 60% majority stake in two oilsands projects, and has also signed a memorandum with Enbridge to take up to half the space on its proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta to the port of Kitimat in BC.

In comments under Nikiforuk's Tyee article, commenter Ed Deak weighs in :
The opposition can jump up and down, they won't get anywhere, because they're attacking the effects and not the causes.
Attacking other political parties, this is also true for BC, and anywhere on Earth, is a waste of time, because politicians are nothing more than pimp/executioners of and for the criminal neoclassical market economic economic theory, being taught in our universities as a "science", that's destroying the Earth and humanity.
Unless our politicians will one day get enough gumption together to attack the causes
they're part of the problem, regardless of the hot air they're blowing.
The tar sands crime wave is part of the "growth" and the "GDP", without any deductions for damages and no politician would dare to question it, as it would bring panic to the almighty stockmarkets.
Then, when the Chinese bring back the money we're paying them for killing our manufacturing infrastructure, praised by economists and the WTO, to buy the country up from under our feet with our own money, it is called "wealth creating foreign investment" that helps to pay for the billions spent on "defence".

Afterthought : An Alberta Energy spokesdude says : "The Chinese takeover is good news for Alberta" and yet back in March we were all apparently shocked shocked shocked when CSIS head Richard Fadden casually mentioned China in his remarks about "foreign interference" on "possibly unwitting" Canadian public servants and politicians here in the West.

We pretty much behaved as if we were teenagers horrified to discover that our parents have sex. I mean obviously we know they must have but we don't much like to hear about it. And given the public pillorying Fadden received for it, I don't imagine it will be brought up again.


kootcoot said...

Excellent piece: the title "No science, please, we're the tar sands" reminds me of the Harperite Motto:

"No Facts Please, We're PsuedoTories"

Boris said...

The tar sands crime wave is part of the "growth" and the "GDP", without any deductions for damages and no politician would dare to question it, as it would bring panic to the almighty stockmarkets.

You can't even have an election now without panicking the markets.

Boris said...

Also, great catch for the article and quote dear Alison.

Hmm. Attacking the causes would take a particularly savvy sort of politician with enough charisma to ride out howls and screams and maybe even bullets from the public and markets.

Alison said...

You can't even have an election now without panicking the markets.

or as Steve put it a couple of weeks ago : "The economy is too fragile for an unnecessary election."

It would take a "savvy" politician and a majority of the public behind him/her but instead we are still backing the business-as-usual guys - keeping our little heads down in hopes of getting to keep most of our stuff.

Hi Koots!

Alison said...

PS When CSIS Chief Fadden intimated on CBC that China has too much influence on unwitting public servants and politicians here in the West, I was kind of surprised anyone was surprised.

Kim said...

Exactly. Ed Deak has it right too. We need to get through to all parties that business as usual is no longer acceptable. We want changes to the power structure to insist that dictatorship by proxy can never happen again!

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