Atmosphere & Energy

Appoint a commissioner to lead unconventional oil review

OTTAWA - Sierra Club Canada congratulates Members of Parliament on voting for a review of unconventional oil production and looks forward to participating in it. In the meantime there should be a formal moratorium on new drilling and construction until a commissioner can be appointed to conduct a full and open public inquiry.

“It’s certainly about time we looked at the practices in offshore drilling and the tar sands,” said Sierra Club Canada Executive Director John Bennett. “There is an environmental disaster just waiting to happen in Canada.”

The review should be led by an independent commissioner appointed by Parliament to investigate the rules, regulations and practices of unconventional oil production in Canada. The independent commissioner should also examine the viability of available alternatives.
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Security firm videos critics of upgrader

Security consultants hired by Total were videotaping residents and protesters Tuesday attending the Energy Resources Conservation Board hearing in Fort Saskatchewan, says an environmental activist who talked to the two men.

Total said it hired security to safeguard the expensive equipment the company brought to the hotel.

Additional excerpt:

Sheila Muxlow of the Sierra Club Prairie chapter said she noticed the men with a small hand-held videotape recording a protest that was held outside the hotel. She noticed they were wearing street clothes and asked them who they were working for.

"The comments the guy made was that they were videotaping to show their employer they were doing their job."

Residents Fear Heartbreak in the Heartland

While Anne Brown rode on the tour bus she broke down into tears over painful memories of a friend she believes died from living so close to large industrial plants.

One of the last things he said her to was, “You have fought a good fight.” And she responded, “We are going to keep on fighting.”

Additional excerpt:

Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and a group of farmers and area residents called The Citizens for Responsible Development also organized the tour of the so-called industrial heartland areas of Fort Saskatchewan and in Strathcona, Sturgeon, and Lamont counties.

ACTION ALERT: Help appoint an independent commissioner of unconventional oil production


This is your chance to nominate an independent commissioner to review Canada’s unconventional oil production, including offshore drilling and the tar sands.

All parties voted to hold a review of unconventional oil production, but as of yet no one has been appointed. So we here at Sierra Club Canada thought this would be an opportunity to ask Canadians.

Send us your nomination. Click here.

Why is this important? With the BP spill in the Gulf Coast, governments around the world are reconsidering the leeway they have given to the oil industry. In Canada, there are a range of offshore projects planned in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Arctic. Most recently, the federal government has moved against a long-standing moratorium on offshore drilling and tanker traffic in British Columbia. Meanwhile, Alberta’s tar sands are expanding at an alarming rate.   

These developments reinforce the need for an independent commissioner to investigate the rules, regulations and practices of unconventional oil production in Canada, and examine the viability of available alternatives.

Canada has a long and proud tradition of appointing independent commissioners to study issues of critical national interest. Typically, the commissioner selected is well-regarded and has expertise on his or her assigned file.
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Calgary retailers plan program to cut back on plastic bag use

The province and major retailers are set to launch a five-year program to curb the use of plastic shopping bags in Alberta, a voluntary project that won't include a legislated ban that some argue is necessary.

The new program will have reduction targets and be industry led, according to the Alberta director of the Retail Council of Canada, one of the associations involved in the project.

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"We would like to see stronger measures being put forth that are comparable to Ireland and other countries, where there is a legislative insurance that these bans and reductions occur," said Sheryle Carlson, with the Prairie chapter of the Sierra Club.

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