Ottawa and the Alberta government are in the early stages of crafting new rules with industry to authorize discharges of treated effluent into the Athabasca River, even though the sector’s biggest companies have yet to show they can effectively clean the toxin-laced water on a commercial scale.
The federal government is targeting final regulations for 2022 modelled on existing rules that authorize releases from metal, mineral and diamond mines, provided contaminants are within regulated limits for “deleterious” substances under the federal Fisheries Act, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail. The changes would also require approval under Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.Now, don't worry. It'll all be done right, just as it always has been - in a way, sort of, sometimes. It's better if you don't look, just sayin'.
Ottawa says it would put in place stringent environmental controls before permitting any discharges, seen by some as a necessary step for cleaning up the tailing ponds and restoring them to their predevelopment state
The industrial waste has attracted international scorn for killing migratory birds, including the deaths of 1,600 ducks in a Syncrude Canada Ltd. tailings pond in 2010 that led to a $3-million penalty for the company.
In 2015, the Alberta government eased regulations and began developing policy and criteria for tailings water release after the industry said it could not meet more stringent cleanup standards.Let's unpack that. The Bitumen Barons knew that they were bound by "stringent cleanup standards" when they built all those tailing ponds. They went ahead and built those leaky tailing ponds and filled them with all manner of toxic crap knowing full well about those "stringent cleanup standards." Then, after the deed was done they went to the Alberta government whining "I don't wanna" and so the Alberta government watered down those "stringent cleanup standards" to suit the industry. Now Ottawa is jumping on the dirty tailings bandwagon.
Those tailing ponds are a constant threat to the world's third largest watershed, the Mackenzie.
What could possibly go wrong?
There's an answer to that question in a companion piece in today's Globe. Think of it as the "orphan well hustle." It's sort of like reverse asset laundering. The giants unload 'end of life' wells onto companies that have no money for clean up costs. How in hell do they get away with that? Well the article describes them as "pliant regulators," a common feature in petro-states.