October 10, 2009
Draft! My Google Map entitled Oil Sands, delicious, papergirls, EndNote, YouTube, Draft!
Places of interest:
MacKay River: In the story on The difference is spelling of McKay in Fort McKay and MacKay River is confusing. Is McKay River (known locally as Red River) the same river as MacKay River? Where is Devon?
National Geographic suggests the potential worth of the Alberta oil sands is $80 trillion.
Bitumen is basically oil-soaked sand.
1965 Karl Clark, a patient chemist, took 45 years to perfect a hot-water process in which bitumen frothed to the top and sand settled to the bottom. He used his wife’s washing machine. In 1965 the Great Canadian Oil Sands Company (now Suncor) ran the first commercial application of Clark’s hot-water process producing 45,000 barrels a day. In order to create the mine to feed the hot-water process, thousands of trees were bulldozed (Nikiforuk 2008).
1976 The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) founded in 1976, has been Canada’s private sector leader in the promotion of international trade and investment liberalization. The members of the CCCE include the chief executive officers of 150 leading Canadian corporations. These companies collectively administer close to $3.0 trillion in assets, have annual revenues of more than $650 billion and account for a significant majority of Canada’s private sector investment, exports, training and research and development.
1997 Among other initiatives, the CCCE organized and hosted the first-ever APEC (Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Summit in 1997, during which it received His Excellency Jiang Zemin, then-President of China.
2002 Suncor began producing oil at MacKay River in 2002, while Firebag stages 1 and 2 began producing oil in 2004 and 2006 respectively. The sequence and timing of additional stages of Firebag and a potential expansion of the MacKay River facility will be considered as part of a review of oil sands growth projects.
2006 “In 2006, more than 100 of Canada’s public companies were acquired by foreign interests. The list includes some of the oldest and most well-established companies across a broad spectrum of industries – everything from hotels to retailing, to metals and mining. And the trend continues. I sometimes worry that we may all wake up one day and find that as a nation, we have lost control of our affairs. I think we ought to have a vigorous debate about the extent to which it matters whether or not ownership of our economy resides in Canada. I believe that ownership matters a lot. It matters not only for economic reasons but, more importantly in my opinion, for our own sense of self-esteem and pride in our country. My concern is not rooted in any chauvinism or in any antipathy towards foreign investment. Far from it. I happen to believe that globalization is a very positive development and that trade and investment across borders is to be encouraged. Canada benefits mightily from being “open for business” and we mustn’t do anything to change that. My concern stems from the fact that the world is awash with capital and that the consolidation trend in many industries will inevitably continue. We are a small country with a relatively small population. Canadian companies typically are not of a size to be global players. All too often, decisions affecting the future of important firms and the communities that they sustain are made solely with a view to the short-term financial consequences. I find it particularly bothersome that so many of our natural resource companies – which I would argue represent unique and irreplaceable assets – are now owned elsewhere. So what are some actions that we might consider taking? Well, what if we were to consider the feasibility of adopting ownership restrictions for certain sensitive sectors of our economy that would be similar to those that now apply to our financial institutions? After all, I would argue that it is a demonstrable fact that public policy regarding the ownership of our banks and insurance companies has served the country well; there is no shortage of competition in the financial services sector and the services available to Canadians are as comprehensive and as affordable as exist anywhere in the world. Securities regulation is another area where some useful debate could be undertaken. Many feel that Canada now has the most bidder-friendly environment in the world and that this may not always be in our country’s best interests. Under our rules, shareholder rights plans – also known as takeover defenses or “poison pills” – fall away after a very short 60 or 90 days, leaving the target company’s board with far too little time in which to explore alternatives. I believe that it is important for us as Canadians to have companies based here that are global leaders (D’Alessandro 2007-05-03).”
2005-11-18 “CEO Mission to China Builds on Canada’s Strategic Partnership with the World’s Largest Emerging Market.” Seventeen senior business leaders representing a wide swath of the Canadian economy will arrive in Beijing on Sunday for a five-day mission to further the development of stronger trade and investment ties between Canada and the People’s Republic of China. Organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), the mission marks the first purely private sector visit to China by a broadly based group of chief executives from among Canada’s largest enterprises. “Since the Council several years ago designated China as a country of the highest strategic importance, we have continued to seek opportunities to build an ever-broader foundation of mutual trust and fruitful bilateral cooperation.” The mission is led by Mr. d’Aquino and Richard L. George, Chairman of the CCCE and President and Chief Executive Officer of Suncor Energy Inc. Other participants include the CEOs of AGF Management Limited, Bentall Capital LLP, Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Canadian Oil Sands Limited, CanWest Global Communications Corp., Enbridge Inc., Harvard Developments Inc., Palliser Furniture Ltd., Pengrowth Management Limited, Petro-Canada, Polygon Homes Ltd., Power Corporation of Canada and Yanke Group of Companies. The CEO mission to China follows the recent establishment of the Canada-China Strategic Partnership by the Right Honourable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, and His Excellency Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China. The Partnership, which was announced during President Hu’s visit to Ottawa in September, represents a watershed in relations between Canada and China, encompassing a wide range of bilateral and international areas. China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner, after the United States. The Canadian and Chinese governments have pledged to double bilateral trade within five years, to about $60 billion a year by 2010. The Canadian CEOs will spend three days in Beijing followed by two days in Shanghai. The agenda includes meetings with senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission, China International Capital Corporation, the China Securities Regulatory Commission and CITIC Group. “The emergence of China as a world economic power is opening up huge trade and investment opportunities for Canada,” Mr. d’Aquino said. “The Canadian Council of Chief Executives is committed to working closely at home and abroad to transform opportunity into success.” The CCCE, founded in 1976, has been Canada’s private sector leader in the promotion of international trade and investment liberalization. Among other initiatives, the CCCE organized and hosted the first-ever APEC (Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Summit in 1997, during which it received His Excellency Jiang Zemin, then-President of China. The members of the CCCE include the chief executive officers of 150 leading Canadian corporations. These companies collectively administer close to $3.0 trillion in assets, have annual revenues of more than $650 billion and account for a significant majority of Canada’s private sector investment, exports, training and research and development. In addition to Mr. d’Aquino and Mr. George, the members of the CCCE’s Executive Committee are: Honorary Chairman A. Charles Baillie; and Vice-Chairmen Dominic D’Alessandro, Paul Desmarais, Jr., Jacques Lamarre, Gwyn Morgan and Gordon Nixon, the chief executives respectively of Manulife Financial, Power Corporation of Canada, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., EnCana Corporation and Royal Bank of Canada.
2009-09-01 “In a blockbuster [tentative] deal, privately owned Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. said PetroChina International Investment Co. Ltd. will buy a majority stake in its operations for $1.9 billion, marking the largest venture by China in the Canadian oilsands to date. [This is still to be reviewed by federal Industry Minister Tony Clement under the Investment Canada Act to evaluate the transaction's net benefit to Canada.] Athabasca Oil Sands said the state-owned firm, one of the world’s most valuable oil and gas companies, will acquire a 60 per cent working interest in the MacKay River and Dover oilsands projects. “This deal shows that the biggest energy company in the world has chosen Athabasca as their partner,” chief executive and president Sveinung Svarte said in a conference call Monday. ” They clearly told us that’s because they like our assets the best and, obviously, they (the oilsands) are the crude oil story.” The two in-situ projects sit on approximately five billion barrels of bitumen that have yet to be developed, and are part of Athabasca’s almost 10 billion barrels of bitumen reserves. The play is one of the largest in the Athabasca region:about 121,400 hectares. “The reason we chose PetroChina over other some of the other bids was, obviously, their financial strength,” chairman Bill Gallacher said. “But also their technological capabilities related to heavy oil and(steam assisted gravity drainage), which we believe will benefit our project both efficiency-wise and production-wise (O’Meara 2009-09-01.”
Bill Gallacher is Chair of the privately-owned Calgary-based Athabasca Oil Sands Corp which made a blockbuster deal with state-owned PetroChina International Investment Co. Ltd. -one of the world’s most valuable oil and gas companies- who will acquire a 60 per cent working interest for $1.9 billion in the MacKay River and Dover oilsands projects which Athabasca Oil Sands Corp will continue to operate, marking the largest venture by China in the Canadian oilsands to date. company said the projects, which it will continue to operate, will cost between $15 billion and $20 billion to develop. It has filed for provincial approval for both projects and intends to file an application for the first 35,000-barrel-per-day phase of MacKay River at the end of the year [. . .] Athabasca Oil Sands said it had notified federal and provincial officials on the proposed Chinese investment, which would make the foreign entity a majority stakeholder in the oilsands projects. Gallacher did not anticipate any issues to arise from the Competition Bureau on the deal. (O’Meara 2009-09-01.”
Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), the mission marks the first purely private sector visit to China by a broadly based group of chief executives from among Canada’s largest enterprises. The (CCCE) founded in 1976, has been Canada’s private sector leader in the promotion of international trade and investment liberalization. The members of the CCCE include the chief executive officers of 150 leading Canadian corporations. These companies collectively administer close to $3.0 trillion in assets, have annual revenues of more than $650 billion and account for a significant majority of Canada’s private sector investment, exports, training and research and development. Among other initiatives, the CCCE organized and hosted the first-ever APEC (Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Summit in 1997, during which it received His Excellency Jiang Zemin, then-President of China. “Many of our members have friendships and commercial relationships in China stretching back years and in some cases decades,” said CCCE Chief Executive and President Thomas d’Aquino.
Thomas d’Aquino is “President and Chief Executive of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. He has been described by Peter C. Newman as “the most powerful influence on public policy formation in Canadian history”, and listed by historian Jack Granatstein as one of the 100 most influential Canadians of the twentieth century. A prolific writer and speaker, he has worked as special assistant to the Prime Minister, special counsel on international trade law and international advisor on strategic business problems (Northern Edge).”
David Stewart-Patterson is the “CCCE’s Executive Vice President. He is also the author of Post Mortem: Why Canada’s Mail Won’t Move, described by the Financial Post as “rather like reading a less gentle version of one of Studs Terkel’s oral histories”. A former journalist, he has worked as parliamentary correspondent for The Globe and Mail‘s Report on Business and as business editor for CTV’s Canada AM (Northern Edge).”
Northern Gateway project The multi-billion dollar proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project to transport 400,000 barrels of oil sand production involving a new twin pipeline system running from the oilsands in Alberta, to a new marine terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia to export petroleum and import condensate. In 2005-04-14 Enbridge CEO Patrick D. Daniel announced that Enbridge had entered into a memorandum of understanding with PetroChina International Company Limited to cooperate on the development of the Gateway Pipeline and supply of crude oil from Canada to China. Daniel noted that the agreement with PetroChina was built on the favourable environment for trade between Canada and China which was cultivated by [former] Prime Minister Paul Martin, and the efforts of [former] Alberta Premier Ralph Klein to stimulate Chinese interest in the oil sands.” The project was shelved in 2006 when the market cooled. By 2009 as China’s thirst for energy and need to secure supply has increased perhaps the Northern Gateway Project might be reconsidered ( (O’Meara 2009-09-01).”
Enbridge Enbridge Inc. is involved in energy transportation and distribution in North America and internationally. As a transporter of energy, Enbridge operates, in Canada and the U.S., the world’s longest crude oil and liquids transportation system. The Company also has international operations and a growing involvement in the natural gas transmission and midstream businesses. As a distributor of energy, Enbridge owns and operates Canada’s largest natural gas distribution company, and provides distribution services in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and New York State. Enbridge employs approximately 4,000 people, primarily in Canada, the U.S. and South America. Enbridge’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada and on the New York Stock Exchange in the U.S. under the symbol ENB. Information about Enbridge is available on the Company’s web site at http://www.enbridge.com. Enbridge proposed the Northern Gateway Project and is involved in internal pipeline inspection and invests heavily in innovative leak detection technology. Enbridge has a computer system that can electronically monitor pipelines 24/7 from the Enbridge operations control centre. They also promise to put in safety control valves and leak detection systems to provide a strong safeguard for the environment.”
Andrew Nikiforuk published Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent with Vancouver-based David Suzuki Foundation-Greystone Books in 2008 in which he argues that, “Canadian taxpayers, who made $150 million [Canadian] in royalties from mining activities between 1966 and 2002, have spent more than $4 billion tidying up scores of contaminated sites…” (2008:100)..
Webliography and Bibliography
D’Alessandro, Dominic. 2007. “How can we preserve Canadian ownership?” Perspectives: 8.
d’Aquino, Thomas and David Stewart-Patterson. Northern Edge: How Canadians Can Triumph in the Global Economy.
Gelsi, Steve. 2009-09-01. “Energy stocks fall hard as broad market weighs.” MarketWatch. Issue:
O’Meara, Dina. 2009. “China’s $1.9B Alberta oilsands deal: PetroChina partners with Athabasca Oil Sands.” Calgary Herald.
Nikiforuk, Andrew. 2008. Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent. Vancouver: David Suzuki Foundation-Greystone Books.
Filed in Economics, moral mathematics, OECD, Public Policy, Risk Management, Risk Society, Social Justice, Think Tanks, Timelines, UHNW, wealth disparities in OECD
Tags: AGF Management Limited, APEC, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Athabasca Oil Sands, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Canadian economy, Canadian Oil Sands Limited, CanWest Global Communications Corp, CCCE, CEO, cyber citizens, del.icio.us, Dominic D’Alessandro, Economics, Enbridge Inc., EnCana Corporation, environment, Fort Chipewyan, Gordon Nixon, Gwyn Morgan, International Energy Agency (IEA), investment liberalization, Jr., Manulife Financial, Measuring Money, Northern Edge, Northern Gateway project, OECD, Oil Market Report (OMR), oil sands, oilsands, patient money, Paul Desmarais, peak oil, PetroChina, Policy Development, policy research, Power Corporation of Canada, private sector, public vs private, regulation of oil commodities market, Risk Management, Royal Bank of Canada, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., social cohesion, Suncor Energy Inc., Think Tanks, Thomas d’Aquino, wealth disparities will intensify
Ross Levin, a NYC hedge fund analyst with Arbiter Partners, who calls himself a “passive speculator in securities” met Lionel Lepine, a member of the Athabaskan Chipewyan First Nation whose family and friends living on the contaminated watershed upriver from the oil sands’ effluence are suffering from unprecedented numbers of cancerous tumours.
A number of recent stories intersect here: Harper’s apology for past treatment of Canada’s First Nations, the pollution of the Athabaskan River north of the oil sands, the impatient development of nonrenewable resources, the meteoric rise of oil commodities market directly caused by irresponsible speculators playing with volatile, unpredictable hedge funds that play havoc with the market making a fortune for some while destroying economic, social and ecological environments all around them.
In a rapid visit to the local library yesterday I grabbed Jake Bernstein’s How the Futures Markets Work. Although it is quite old for the fast-paced risk management industry, there are certain fundamentals that ring true. He briefly traced the history futures contracts leading to the volatile environment where agricultural futures were replaced by the less predictable currency markets. Of course, his book was written long before the meteoric rise of private equity funds.
My concern remains with the absent ethical component on trading floors. Ethical responsibilities are as elastic as the regulations that govern the centuries old practice of hedging. In the period of late capitalism and the emergence of risk society, the cost of destructive unintended byproducts have created havoc in ways that far exceed the commodities/service value. The road to profits and impatient money, is paved with casualties.
Berstein’s facts of market life are telling. He encourages simple methods and systems which require few decisions and little mental conflict. Too much thought is not conducive to successful trading. Too much analysis costs lost opportunities. Keep systems simple. Control your emotions. Practice caring less so that you remain more objective. Don’t ask why. Knowing why may hinder you more than it will help you. Patterns are the best indicators available (What feeds into a “pattern” however is not a science). Timing is what makes money in the futures market (Bernstein 2000:282-3).
In other words, futures’ gurus encourage young hedge fund analysts to not think too much about factors such as displacement of peoples, the degradation of living conditions and the way in which they unwittingly contribute to making vulnerable ecologies and peoples even more vulnerable. Their gurus tell them to not think about the impact of their actions. They are told to not ask why the prices of essential commodities like fuel and food that they are playing with, are pushing certain groups into unimaginable levels of social exclusion. In the end groups at-risk to health degradation are always those least able to protect themselves. How convenient that the gurus do not factor in these social issues. They are entirely absent from finance reports.
But then a lot of information is purposely not included in financial and business reports. Bernstein argues that the simpler systems that take fewer things into consideration will lead to more profits. Yet when he lists off all the potential factors in operation in even a simple fundamental analysis, it is not at all simple. It begins with the highly complex. The algorithms involved may appear to be simplified through the use of databases that seem to generate accurate, objective hard facts. In reality, the accuracy of any query depends on what was fed into it.
Futures trading, also known as commodities trading, the final frontier of capitalism, became a popular speculative and investment vehicle in the US in the 1960s (Bernstein 2000:1). These financial instruments offer unlimited profit potential with relatively little capital. Speculators are drawn to the possibility of quick money or what I like to call impatient money. The great wealth accumulated from speculative financial instruments has spawned careers in brokerage, market analysis, computerized trading, computer software and hardware, accounting, law, advertising which themselves subdivide into more recent opportunities such as those related to risk-management.
While gurus such as Bernstein argue that gambling is for anyone but speculation is for professionals, the chaos and unpredictability of the current global economy have been linked to a growing culture of gambling in futures trading rather than level-headed professionalism. Gamblers create risk simply by placing a bet; professional speculators “transfer risk from the hedgers to the speculators” and it therefore called risk management instead of gambling.
“It rained last night so the price of soy beans will be down today.” Although the basis of fundamental analysis in economics is supply and demand, the actual fundamental analysis of specific markets that might generate accurate price predictions are complicated as numbers of factors overlap and massive quantities of data need to be considered. The simple equation involves how much of a commodity or service are buyers willing to pay at a given time and place. There used to be a correlation between price and consumption. Factors that impact on price of commodities include the state of the economy (local, regional, national and international – inflationary, recessionary with rising or falling employment), availability of alternate products or services, storage possibilities, weather, seasonality, price cycles, price trends, government subsidies, political influences, protectionist attitudes, international tensions, fear of war, hoarding, stockpiling, demand for raw materials (sugar, petroleum, copper, platinum, coffee, cocoa), currency fluctuations, health of the economy, level of unemployment, housing starts. Most technical systems are not effective in making traders money.
In spite of this there is still a persistent belief that there is an invisible hand that guides market correcting imbalances like a living organism or finely-tuned machine.
“Markets work perfectly as they respond to the multiplicity of forces that act upon them. It is our inability to find, parse, and correctly weight the impact of these factors that limits our results and success of our fundamentally based forecasts (Bernstein 2000:162).”
The bottom line is that wealth disparities continue to intensify and that these inordinate extremes of wealth and poverty destabilizes society. These distorted economic relationships deprive us of any sense of control over economic forces that threaten to disrupt the foundations of our existence. National governments have been either unwilling or unable to deal effectively with this situation in which we live where the deplorable superfluity of great wealth exists alongside the acute suffering of those living in miserable, demoralizing and degrading abject poverty even in countries like Canada.
Social equality is an entirely impracticable chimera. Even if equality could be achieved it could not be sustained. Wages and income should be unequal and should correspond to different efforts, skills and capacities. However, equal justice for all is not only necessary but urgently needed.
As long as those involved in the financial and energy industries remain in denial of their role by hiding behind economic and ideological polemics and simply dismissing concerns from others there can be no productive change. A fresh look at the problem should involve people like Lionel Lepine who are directly involved with decisions, along with experts from a wide spectrum of disciplines. There will not be a voluntary ethical turn so for now we desperately need public policies that will regulate industries.
Selected Timeline of Critical Events
1710 The first modern organized futures exchange began with the Dojima Rice Exchange in Osaka, Japan. The Japanese feudal landowners began to use certificates of receipt against future rice crops. As these futures certificates became financial instruments in the general economy the value of the certificates would rise and fall as the price of rice fluctuated. The Dojima Rice Exchange emerged as the world’s first futures market where speculators traded contracts for the future delivery of rice or “certificates of receipt.” The Japanese government outlawed the practice when futures contracts (where delivery never took place) began to have no relationship to the underlying cash value of the commodity leading to wild and unpredictable fluctuations (Bernstein 2000:30).
1848 The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was formed as a price risk occurred in the grain markets of Chicago.
1865 The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) organized trading of futures contracts.
1919 – 1945 The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) traded futures in eggs, butter, apples, poultry and frozen eggs (Bernstein 2000:70).
1960s Futures trading, also known as commodities trading, the final frontier of capitalism, became a popular speculative and investment vehicle in the US in the 1960s (Bernstein 2000:1).
1970s There was increasing volatility in international currency exchange rates as the Bretton Woods agreement began to break down. Business people transferred risk of volatility in international markets by hedging with speculators willing to take the risk. Futures markets began to expand into foreign currencies as fluctuated wildly competing against each other and the US dollar.
1972 The total volume of futures contracts trading was 18 million and the top ten most actively traded future contracts were agricultural futures (Bernstein 2000:71).
1974 The US Congress passed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act and established Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to protect participants in the futures market from fraud, deceit and abusive practices such as unfair trading practices (price manipulation, prearranged trading, trading ahead of a customer), credit and financial risks, and sales practice abuses (Bernstein 2000:32). Individual nation states have similar regulating bodies.
1982 Futures trading in the US was self-regulating and anyone in the business had to become a member of the National Futures Association (NFA).
1986 The total volume of futures contracts trading was 184 million and the T bonds were among the most actively traded future contracts (Bernstein 2000:71).
1990 The price of crude oil rose dramatically when Hussein invaded Kuwait.
1999 The most actively traded future contracts were interest rates, futures, stock index futures, energy futures, currency futures and agricultural futures (Bernstein 2000:72).
2000 The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) trades futures in livestock futures, currency futures, interest rate futures, stock index futures (Bernstein 2000:70).
2000 More than 90 foreign futures exchanges emerged with the ever-increasing demand for new financial instruments “to hedge against fluctuating interest rates, changing foreign exchange rates and institutional securities portfolios (Bernstein 2000:46).
2008 Calgary has a high percentage of young millionaires with lots of disposable income. There are also c.4000 homeless people in Calgary, the oil capital of Canada. c. 40% of the homeless are working poor who are unable to afford housing.
Webliography and Bibliography
Bernstein, Jake. 2000. How the Futures Markets Work. New York Institute of Finance.
Filed in critical ethnography, del.icio.us, ecology, Economics, Energy, environment, First Nations, how to be poor in a rich country, human rights, Public Policy, Risk Management, Risk Society, social exclusion, Social Justice, vulnerability to social exclusion, water, wealth disparities in OECD
Tags: Athabaskan River, banking sector, Chipewyan First Nation, cyber citizens, del.icio.us, digg, First Nations, First Nations social history, Fort Chipewyan, hedge fund analyst, hedge funds, how to be poor in a rich country, Human Development Index, Measuring Money, oil sands, passive speculator, patient money, Policy Development, policy research, RCAP, regulation of oil commodities market, relocations, Risk Management, securities, social exclusion, speculation, The Economist
November 10, 2007
High levels of carcinogens and toxic substances have been found in fish, water and sediment in the Athabaska River downstream from Alberta’s huge oil sands projects. The Athabasca River, which flows past Fort McMurray feeds into Lake Athabasca. Fort Chipewyan, an aboriginal village of 1,400 on the northeast shore of Lake Athabasca is 260 kilometers (161 miles) north of Fort McMurray oil sands. Dr. Kevin Timoney, an ecologist with Treeline Environmental Research reported in a recent study that Fort Chipewyan water supply was safe but there were “high levels of arsenic, mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in fish, which many people in Fort Chipewyan, especially members of its Native community, rely on for a substantial portion of their diet (Austen 2007).” Nunee Health Authority’s director Donna Cyprien commissioned the report to investigate the threat of toxins on Mikasew Cree First Nation who live downstream from the Alberta oil sands projects. Residents were concerned about potential carcinogens found in tar and tarlike materials as there is visible oily residue in their drinking water.
“Timoney’s conclusions are in stark contrast to a government-funded study this year on cancer rates that found no elevated disease rates in connection with the Athabasca River (CBC 2007).”
1. Thanks to this post for drawing my attention to inappropriate ads on this article.
2. This post was updated February 9, 2009 in response to more recent reports and dramatic changes brought on by the 2009 recession. Negative international attention is focused on Syncrude’s Aurora North Site mine through an environmental headliner that culminated in charges against the company. Timing could not be worse, as Deputy Premier Ron Stevens was in Washington, D.C., marketing Alberta’s energy resources and environmental record to political and business leaders. Concerns about high levels of carcinogens and toxic substances found in fish, water and sediment in the Athabaska River downstream from Alberta’s huge oil sands projects (which are largely self-regulated see RAMP), have also earned international attention. Syncrude was charged under a section of Canada’s Migratory Birds Convention Act the Canadian government and under a section of the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Acts for failing to prevent the deaths of 500 ducks covered in toxic sludge in April 2008 at their massive toxic tailings pond at their Syncrude’s Aurora North Site mine facility (D’ Aliesio 2009-02-09).”
I have developed this customized Google Map to follow relevant stories and reports that I have come across. It does not include the most relevant or recent information:
This Google map is provided by Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) is “an industry-funded, multi-stakeholder environmental self-monitoring program based on a self-regulation model and currently chaired by Suncor’s Patrick O’Brien.
1997- Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) is “an industry-funded, multi-stakeholder environmental monitoring program initiated in 1997. The intent of RAMP is to integrate aquatic monitoring activities across different components of the aquatic environment, different geographical locations, and Athabasca oils sands and other developments in the Athabasca oil sands region so that long-term trends, regional issues and potential cumulative effects related to oil sands and other development can be identified and addressed (RAMP web site 2007).”
2008-04 Syncrude failed to properly deter about 500 ducks from landing on its massive toxic tailings pond, where nearly all of them died (D’ Aliesio 2009-02-09).
2007-11-09 ” Ian Austen reported in his articleStudy Finds Carcinogens in Water Near Alberta Oil Sands Projects” in the New York Times.
2009 Patrick O’Brien (Suncor) is the current Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) Steering Committee chairperson. The RAMP Steering Committee is the multi-stakeholder decision body of RAMP responsible for the management and implementation of the program.
Cooper, Dave. 2009-01-15. “Syncrude seeks deeper tailings pond.” Edmonton Journal.
2009-02-09 “Syncrude charged for duck deaths at tailings pond (D’ Aliesio 2009-02-09).” Negative international attention is focused on Syncrude’s Aurora North Site mine through an environmental tragedy that culminated in charges against the company. Timing could not we worse, as Deputy Premier Ron Stevens was in Washington, D.C., marketing Alberta’s energy resources and environmental record to political and business leaders. Syncrude was charged under a section of Canada’s Migratory Birds Convention Act the Canadian government and under a section of the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Acts for failing to prevent the deaths of 500 ducks covered in toxic sludge in April 2008 at their massive toxic tailings pond at their Syncrude’s Aurora North Site mine facility (D’ Aliesio 2009-02-09).”
Kevin Timoney, Treeline Ecological Research, 21551 Twp Road 520, Sherwood Park, AB, T8E 1E3
Webliography and Bibliography
Adams, S. and Associates. 1998. Fort Chipewyan Way of Life Study. Stuart Adams and Associates. Vancouver, BC.
Austen, Ian. 2007. “Study Finds Carcinogens in Water Near Alberta Oil Sands Projects.” New York Times. November 7.
CBC. 2007-11-08. “Study contradicts earlier findings on N. Alberta water quality.”
Cooper, Dave. 2009-01-15. “Syncrude seeks deeper tailings pond.” Edmonton Journal.
D’ Aliesio, Renata. 2009-02-09. “Syncrude charged for duck deaths at tailings pond.” Calgary Herald.
Haggett, Scott. 2007. “Canadian village calls for end to oil sand projects.” Reuters. November 8.
Filed in First Nations, Memory Work, moral mathematics, New York Times, Risk Management, Risk Society
Tags: Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Acts, Athabaska River, Canada's Migratory Birds Convention Act, digg, First Nations, First Nations social history, Fort Chipewyan, Fort McMurray, Lake Athabasca, Mikasew Cree First Nations, New York Times, Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP), Risk Management, Ron Stevens, Syncrude Aurora North Site, Treeline Environmental Research