EDMONTON – A study of thousands of environmental problems in Alberta’s oilsands has found that fewer than one per cent have drawn any enforcement action.
Independent researchers Peter Lee and Kevin Timoney have assembled a database of more than 9,000 environmental incidents since 1996.
The incidents vary from unplanned releases into the Athabasca River and the discovery of unregistered waste sites, to excessive smokestack emissions
The study concludes the province’s records on environmental contamination are incomplete and riddled with errors, leaving no way to really understand industry’s impact on the region.
The researchers also found that enforcement action was only taken in 0.9 per cent of the more than 4,000 cases where an oilsands facility broke an operating condition.
Timoney says the same problems recurred time and time again, suggesting environmental performance isn’t improving.
Both Lee and Timoney are environmental researchers who have been critical of the oilsands in the past.
The current study is not published in an academic journal, but has been peer-reviewed.