Deformed Fish Found Downstream from Oil Sand Project; Next Stop…Utah

Sunday, September 19, 2010
Deformed fish caught in Lake Athabasca, Alberta, downstream form oilsands (photo: Jason Franson, Canadian Press)
Efforts to extract oil from sand pits in Canada may be a harbinger of environmental troubles awaiting Utah if the state goes through with its own oilsands project, which would be the first of its kind in the United States.
In Canada’s Saskatchewan province, deformed fish have shown up in Lake Athabasca, downstream from the nearby oilsands development in northern Alberta. Scientists and aboriginals have called on the Canadian government to conduct an independent study to determine the cause of the fish deformities.
Three years ago, the government’s environmental agency produced a study showing high levels of deformities in fish embryos exposed to oilsands. The following year, the Canadian Council for Ministers of the Environment found that 12% of Alberta’s forest soils had reached their tolerance for acidity, due in large part to oilsands, which are also known as tar sands.
Environmentalists in Utah are concerned that their state may suffer the samekinds of pollution if government officials allow a small Canadian company, Earth Energy Resources, to develop a commercial tar-sands mine in eastern Utah. The area could contain the equivalent of 4.7 billion barrels of oil, and the state as a whole could be sitting atop of 20 billion to 32 billion barrels of oil trapped in tar sands.
On Friday, two Republican U.S. senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, toured the Alberta oilsands and liked what they saw. “I am for full-speed-ahead in terms of using Canadian oilsands oil in America,” enthused Graham. “It’s oil I feel very comfortable Americans consuming.” Graham and Chambliss were joined on the Canadian government-sponsored tour by Senator Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina). They did not come in contact with the downstream residents or anyone else who opposed oilsands development.
The United States currently imports one million barrels of oilsands-extracted oil a day from Alberta.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
U.S. Senators Impressed with Alberta Oilsands Tour (by Karen Kleiss, Edmonton Journal)
Utah Agency Approves Oil-Sands Project (by Steven Oberbeck, Salt Lake Tribune)
Approval Would Put Tar Sands on Energy Map (by Gary Harmon, Daily Sentinel)


miss think 10 years ago
Lake Athabasca is in Saskatchewan. Downstream from Alberta but smack dab in the middle of a massive uranium deposit. Lots of pollution sources up there.

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