The current breakneck speed of tar sands development in Alberta has led to host of social, economic and environmental problems. Declining water quality, pollution-associated illnesses, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, a labour shortage and an enormous infrastructure deficit are only a few of the issues currently faced by Alberta's government, industry and citizenry. In particular, one problem gaining increasing recognition is how to fuel the province's overheated tar sands development without exhausting natural gas reserves and producing more greenhouse gases than any other industrial project on earth.
Many solutions to this problem have been proposed. For example, residents across the province have suggested the Alberta government slow the pace of tar sands development and put in place a plan to ensure long-term sustainability for Alberta's people, economy and environment. Others have argued that Alberta must diversify its energy portfolio and prepare for a shift towards a post-carbon economy by investing in clean energy research and development. Finally, some people have proposed using nuclear energy to fuel unfettered tar sands expansion.
Unfortunately, many of Alberta's government and industry leaders are currently supporting the latter option. That is, instead of choosing innovation and conservation as a means to ensure a safe, healthy and clean energy future for all Albertans, these representatives have chosen to pursue one of Canada's most dangerous, costly, polluting and inefficient energy options: nuclear power. Even more alarming is how quickly nuclear proponents have been mobilizing in an effort to build multiple reactors and have them online as soon as possible.
The Sierra Club of Canada is among several environmental organizations dedicated to ensuring that Albertans get to hear both sides of the nuclear energy debate. We are working with local community groups across the province to educate and mobilize citizens to call for a Nuclear Free Alberta. Too often local governments and community members are only presented with the slick advertising and false promises of people who stand to gain substantially from fostering a nuclear power industry in Alberta. The information presented here is designed to provide Albertans with the other side of the debate so that they may decide for themselves whether nuclear power is really the key to a safe and clean energy future.
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