The Boreal Forest

Groups launch mapping tool to show Minister Kent need to stop new tar sands mine

19 January 2011 (EDMONTON)— Environmental groups today launched a new online mapping tool to give new federal Environment Minister Peter Kent a sense of the size and scale of the tar sands by overlaying a map of the mining projects over his home riding to drive home the message that allowing the approval of a new open-pit tar sands mine in Alberta is an irresponsible first move as environment minister.

The mapping tool, similar to the visualization tool environmental groups created after the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, shows the size of Total’s proposed Joslyn tar sands mine along with  all current tar sands mine sites and the total leasable area for mining. The default setting is over Kent’s home riding of Thornhill, Ontario. Users can move the footprint of any mine site or the tar sands leasable area to anywhere in the world to get a better sense of the scale of these huge projects.

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No Refuge: New Parks Act opens protected land to development

Legislation that the Sierra Club and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society called "the worst conservation legislation to come forward anywhere in Canada in a decade" is headed back to the Alberta legislature this spring.
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Critics Respond To Canadian Government's Shilling of Tar Sands as "Ethical Oil"

The comments came fast and furious to Canada's New Environment Minister's Job: Shill The Tar Sands as "Ethical Oil", some in particular found Andrew Nikiforuk's criticism of the term to be a bit over the top. Now cooler heads have added their opinions, including Emma Pullman at Desmogblog:

Calling the oil "ethical" is damaging to the debate because it shuts off debate. It creates a space where those who argue against tar sands oil are unethical, or hate freedom and democracy. Reframing the debate in this way fails to get at the true crux of the problem: we have a dirty oil addiction, and the oil industry is inadequately regulated to the detriment of people's health. Alberta's "Ethical oil" fails to get us out of this paradigm. It's still oil at the end of the day, and dirty oil at that.

Gillian Steward reports in the Star from the oil patch in Calgary:... Read more »

Broadcaster Chosen as new Environment Minister

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has bolstered his cabinet presence from Toronto — where he hopes to make a breakthrough in the next election — by promoting Peter Kent to the environment portfolio and bringing Julian Fantino into the inner circle as a junior minister responsible for seniors.

But within minutes of the minor shuffle Tuesday which featured the two Toronto MPs and two others from Alberta, Harper denied he wants an election any time soon and is trying instead to govern with an emphasis on economic management.

"I don't think now is the time for big changes or for elections," Harper told a news conference.... Read more »

Royal Society Report on Tar Sands ignores Traditional Knowledge

Indigenous Peoples, Community Members and Allies raise concerns.

EDMONTON, Dec. 15 /CNW/ - The Royal Society of Canada report on the tar sands released today, spurred concern by directly impacted communities and allies today as conclusions were put forward around the impacts of tar sands development within the region.

"With data coming from primarily government and industry sources, this report will likely lead to further inaction on addressing the concerns of community members who live in fear of drinking their water or from consuming traditional foods or medicines," said Clayton Thomas-Muller, Tar Sands Campaigner of the Indigenous Environmental Network. "This situation violates International Human rights laws and Canada's own constitutional laws pertaining to First Nations rights."... Read more »


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