Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Alberta Oil: Meeting of the Federal Senate Committee on Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources

Energy Ink

Academics urge action on oil sands file before senators

Water monitoring still a sore spot, standing committee told
November 30, 2011
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Oil sands development was front and center at a hearing held Nov. 30 by the federal Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in Edmonton.
The mostly bookish group of witnesses included Steve Hrudey, professor emeritus at the University of Alberta and chair of the panel report compiled by the Royal Society of Canada that examined the environmental and health affects of the oil sands industry; Allan Offenberger, also professor emeritus at the U of A; Alberta Innovates Technology Futures chair Axel Meisen; Alberta Council of Technologies president Perry Kinkaide; David Schindler, professor of ecology at the U of A; and Andrew Leach, associate professor of natural resources, energy and environment at the U of A and moonlighting columnist for Alberta Oil.
Testimony touched on effective oil sands monitoring and oversight, the gulf between public perceptions and reality, the resource’s growing emissions output and, rather unexpectedly, the role that fusion can play as a source of heat in future projects and in a post-carbon world. Here, then, are a few themes:
→ The oil sands are unfairly maligned. “There’s nothing uniquely horrendous about oil sands development,” Hrudey told the senators. He took aim at the view that the mining district north of Fort McMurray represents the most environmentally destructive project on Earth. That characterization, he said, “simply reflects that people are chronically stupid or they haven’t been anywhere.”


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