Toxic Sludge

CAPP tailings ad didn't break rules: ASC

CBJ – Nov. 30 – A television advertisement that compared oilsands tailings to yogurt was found after a review to not have broken any of Advertising Standards Canada's rules.

The watchdog agency received a complaint in October from the pro-environment Sierra Club about the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers ad, which shows Suncor Energy employee Shelley Powell comparing oilsands tailings to yogurt. [...]

Even though the version of the ad that makes reference to yogurt was pulled by CAPP, the Sierra Club accused the oilsands lobby group of “greenwashing.”

“The recent deaths of ducks in tailings ponds clearly and accurately demonstrated the tailings are toxic and definitely not yogurt,” Sierra Club Canada's executive director John Bennett said in a statement. [...]

Oil patch yogurt ad not misleading, council says

The Alberta oil patch has avoided potential embarrassment after Advertising Standards Canada ruled that an advertisement that compared toxic oil sands effluent to yogurt did not mislead viewers.

The Sierra Club of Canada had complained that the ad was a “greenwashing” attempt to untruthfully make the oil sands sound environmentally benign. The ad featured a Suncor Energy Inc. (SU-T34.67-0.02-0.06%) employee named Shelley Powell, who in a spot about tailings – a key issue confronting the oil sands – said they are “essentially like yogurt.”... Read more »

CAPP withdraws yogurt ad in response to Sierra Club Canada complaint

For Immediate Release

November 30, 2010

Ottawa – Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) Council has ruled the contents of the tar sands tailings ponds are “essentially like yogurt” in response to a complaint laid last month by Sierra Club Canada. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) quietly withdrew the ad shortly after the complaint was filed. Sierra Club Canada was barred from public statements until the ruling was issued late Monday, November 29, 2010.

ASC Vice President, Janet Feasby, said in a letter, “It should be noted, however, that Council’s decision was not unanimous. Council was pleased; therefore, to learn from the advertiser that this commercial had been withdrawn and replaced by another that does not make any reference to yogurt.”... Read more »

Alberta opposition slams Horizon tailings pond

EDMONTON - The Alberta government was put on the defensive Monday after questions emerged about whether an oilsands tailings pond with an unusual design is failing to protect wildlife and the natural water system from toxic sludge.

Opposition parties and an environmental scientist hammered the government over the design of the pond, which serves the Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s Horizon oilsands project near Fort MacKay.

The pond has artificial berms on three sides but the boundary on its western edge is formed by a natural slope in the land.

NDP MLA Rachel Notley suggested such a scheme was a disaster waiting to happen, while scientist Kevin Timoney called it a “mortality trap” for wildlife.

“I’m surprised a design like this would be approved, because clearly it’s designed to minimize costs to the company and maximize risk to the environment,” Timoney said.... Read more »

Alta. oilsands pond sludge oozes into bush

A northern Alberta tailings pond appears to have toxic sludge flowing into the muskeg from an uncontained western edge, a situation uncovered by a CBC News investigation.

The pond, located in a remote area about 70 kilometres northwest of Fort McMurray, contains toxic waste from the Horizon oilsands project operated by Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL). It has been in operation for about a year.

The pond has containing berms on all but its western side. According to documents obtained by CBC News, the company is relying on topography and clay beneath the surface to contain the tailings on that section of the pond.

CNRL is legally permitted to have this setup. The plan was approved six years ago by Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB).

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