The Boreal Forest

2011 is the International Year of Forests: how are YOU getting involved?

By Emma Cane

Photo: Min. of Natural Resources

The United Nations has declared 2011 as “International Year of Forests” in hopes of raising global awareness of sustainable forest management, conservation and the living legacy to be passed on to future generations. But what does that mean to us?... Read more »

Edmonton filmmaker addresses precious water resources

EDMONTON - David Lavallee spent 15 years guiding hikes in the Columbia Icefields but didn’t give much thought to what happened to the water that melted off the glaciers.

Then one day he was standing on the Athabasca glacier with glaciologist Shawn Marshall. Marshall talked about how the river ran to the tarsands where a huge amount of the water was used by the industry and ended up in toxic tailings ponds, which were growing exponentially.

“I was like, ‘hmm, interesting. How come I don’t know anything about this?’ I was born and raised in Edmonton. I’d always heard about the oilsands as a kid, but they were just this small project up there. Now all of a sudden they just completely took off and now we’re the caretakers of the second biggest deposit of oil on the planet.”... Read more »

Report concludes oilsands pollution monitoring is inadequate

CALGARY — A new government-commissioned report examining conflicting water quality data from the oilsands says the current monitoring system is inadequate and that environmental impacts from industrial development in the region are largely unknown.

Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner appointed the six-member water monitoring data review committee last fall to try to resolve the conflicting water quality information found between government scientists and University of Alberta ecologist David Schindler and his colleagues.

Schindler's reports argue the oilsands industry is contaminating the environment, while the province and the industry funded Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) have insisted their science does not support his conclusions.... Read more »

Law professor criticizes Alberta’s land-leasing practices

An Alberta law professor is suggesting the province's gold rush approach of granting hundreds of leases every year on First Nation lands is leaving it vulnerable to constitutional challenge.

Nigel Bankes, chairman of Natural Resources Law at the University of Calgary, is criticizing the Alberta government for its failure to properly consult First Nations before putting their land up for anonymous public auction through the oilsands tenure system.

In what could be interpreted as a sign that the pace of oilsands development is outstripping basic social expectations for government due diligence, he suggests the system is vulnerable to constitutional challenge.

Bankes routinely blogs about oil and gas issues as well as aboriginal issues including the recent court decision ruling against Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's challenge to the issuance of oilsands leases to Shell Canada.... Read more »

            

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