Toxic Sludge

Cameron calls for Alberta oilsands to be developed properly

EDMONTON — Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron believes Alberta's oilsands are a gift that could become a curse.

"It will be a curse if it's not managed properly. It can also be a great gift to Canada and to Alberta," Cameron said at an hour-long, packed news conference Wednesday afternoon. "I'm pragmatic enough to understand the powerful economic forces that are driving this development.

Cameron's stopover in Edmonton on Wednesday seemed every bit the spectacle of a Hollywood film premiere, with the director running a gauntlet of microphones and cameras as he rushed from meeting to interview to news conference. In one moment he was talking with Premier Ed Stelmach and several provincial cabinet ministers about environmental policy, the next he was being handed a script by an aspiring filmmaker and being chased by a crew working for TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey.... Read more »

Science experts to review oilsands pollution claims, says minister

OTTAWA — A panel of scientific experts will have 60 days to investigate new research suggesting that oilsands operations are contaminating the Athabasca River and endangering human health, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said Thursday.

"We are determined to develop Canada's oilsands in a manner that it sustainable and environmentally sensitive," said Prentice in a statement. "This independent review by some of Canada's most respected scientists is a critical step in ensuring that environmental issues are balanced with economic considerations."

Industry representatives have suggested pollution in the river is coming from natural deposits, but several prominent scientists, including David Schindler from the University of Alberta, have concluded the evidence overwhelmingly suggests the industrial activity is to blame.... Read more »

Filmmaker urges Canada to avoid oil sand 'curse'

Filmmaker James Cameron on Wednesday urged Canada to avoid the "curse" of its oil sands, saying the world's second largest oil reserve could be a "great gift" if managed with environmental care.

The oil sands "will be a curse if it's not managed properly. It can also be a great gift to Canada and to Alberta if it is managed properly," said the director of blockbuster films "Avatar," "Titanic" and "The Terminator."

Cameron was invited by aboriginal leaders to speak at a nationally televised press conference in Edmonton, Alberta after touring the oil sands.

"It is impossible to imagine a refining process that did not have negative environmental impacts. It would have to be some kind of Immaculate Conception," Cameron said.... Read more »

Cameron Listens

Alberta's opposition parties got some alone time with Hollywood movie maker James Cameron Wednesday morning.

The director of Titanic and Avatar had breakfast with Liberal Leader David Swann and NDPer Rachel Notley in Edmonton.

"We had a full discussion," said Swann of the hour-long get-together.

He said Cameron, like the Liberals, is calling for "responsible development" of the oilsands.

"This kind of attention is exactly what Alberta needs to wake up this government to its responsibilities," Swann said.

"Most Albertans realize we have a wonderful resource here. It will be developed, the question is how — at what pace and at what cost?"

Later, Schindler met with on campus with University of Alberta water researcher David Schindler.... Read more »

Cameron admits awe at scale of Alberta oilsands operations

FORT MCMURRAY — James Cameron's sightseeing around the Alberta oilsands Tuesday seemed to make a big impression on the Hollywood director, and may have helped him gain a new appreciation for the complex issues surrounding the industry, Environment Minister Rob Renner says.

Renner, who accompanied Cameron for his morning tour of the Syncrude facility north of Fort McMurray, suggested he didn't see much of the man who earlier this year called the industry a black eye on Canada's environmental record.

"He may have (previously) had the impression that there was very little regard for the environment, little regard for regulation and a lack of respect for First Nations people," Renner said. "On all those accounts, I think he left with a better impression."... Read more »


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