Government Must Take Responsibility for Tar Sands Pollution

OTTAWANew Democrats welcomed the release today of a new report criticizing the federal government’s inaction on regulating Alberta tar sands development.

The report, Duty Calls, takes a detailed look at regulatory and policy measures needed to help clean up tar sands operations – and calls for urgent action from the federal government.

“Today’s report is based on decades of scientific and technical analysis as well as cooperative efforts pursuing improved regulation of this sector. The authors should be lauded for filling the governance vacuum,” said New Democrat Environment Critic Linda Duncan (Edmonton-Strathcona).  “This report endorses the recommendations made in a New Democrat report issued last month demanding expedited federal actions to regulate, monitor and enforce measures to address impacts of the oil sands.”

Released today by the Pembina Institute, Environmental Defence Canada and Equiterre – the report also lays out concrete steps to help control serious environmental and health impacts.

“Duty Calls points out many areas where the federal government is completely ignoring its responsibility to protect the environment and the health of Canadians,” said New Democrat Energy Critic, Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley). “It exposes the federal government’s total failure to plan for increasing future emissions in the tar sands given the industry’s own growth projections.”

Cullen points out that the Conservative government has been trying to cover for industry polluters rather than forcing them to clean up their act to ensure that we not only have a healthier environment, but also access to markets that are demanding more sustainable production.

“This government has failed to examine the consequences of tying our nation’s future to the fossil fuel industry,” Cullen said.

In September, New Democrats released Linda Duncan’s report, Missing in Action, which called on the federal government to assume its responsibilities, with a focus on the oil industry’s impacts on water.  The report was released after the House of Commons Environment Committee, which had been studying the issue, failed to release an all-party report.