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Birds die in places other than in Alta. oilsands: MP

The 500 ducks that died in the Alberta oilsands pale in comparison to the thousands of birds killed by cats or by crashing into Toronto office towers or flying into windmills, says Conservative MP Brian Jean. ...At the committee, he questioned federal officials about "how do you balance" 500 ducks who died in an oilsands tailings pond with 6,000 killed annually on Toronto skyscrapers and 200,000 caught in wind turbines.

OTTAWA - The 500 ducks that died in the Alberta oilsands pale in comparison to the thousands of birds killed by cats or by crashing into Toronto office towers or flying into windmills, says Conservative MP Brian Jean.

Jean, whose Fort McMurray-Athabasca riding includes the oilsands, made the skyscraper and windmill bird death contrast Thursday at a hearing by the House of Commons environment committee. He added the cat kills, an estimated 150,000 in North America, in a subsequent interview about his attempt to inject some perspective into the oilsands debate.

"There's no excuse for what happened and I don't want to undermine that important issue," Jean said of the deaths of 500 ducks in oilsands tailing ponds, for which the Alberta and federal governments have charged Syncrude Canada with violating environmental laws.

However, he sought "fairness, reality and truth" and asked how anyone could think that a Montrealer or Torontonian would care more about the land, air and water in the Athabasca region than the people who live there.

At the committee, he questioned federal officials about "how do you balance" 500 ducks who died in an oilsands tailings pond... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

OTTAWA - The 500 ducks that died in the Alberta oilsands pale in comparison to the thousands of birds killed by cats or by crashing into Toronto office towers or flying into windmills, says Conservative MP Brian Jean.

Jean, whose Fort McMurray-Athabasca riding includes the oilsands, made the skyscraper and windmill bird death contrast Thursday at a hearing by the House of Commons environment committee. He added the cat kills, an estimated 150,000 in North America, in a subsequent interview about his attempt to inject some perspective into the oilsands debate.

"There's no excuse for what happened and I don't want to undermine that important issue," Jean said of the deaths of 500 ducks in oilsands tailing ponds, for which the Alberta and federal governments have charged Syncrude Canada with violating environmental laws.

However, he sought "fairness, reality and truth" and asked how anyone could think that a Montrealer or Torontonian would care more about the land, air and water in the Athabasca region than the people who live there.

At the committee, he questioned federal officials about "how do you balance" 500 ducks who died in an oilsands tailings pond with 6,000 killed annually on Toronto skyscrapers and 200,000 caught in wind turbines.

"I was trying to get at the truth, what is actually happening there, compared to other places," Jean said. "Fear mongering is not going to get us anywhere."

The committee opened hearings for a study of the impact of oilsands production on Canada's water resources, focusing the first day on the role of the federal government, which shares jurisdiction with Alberta.

Jean said he was not satisfied with the answer to his question about balance from Fisheries official Ian Matheson who said such comparisons "are not what we get into" when determining whether there are threats to the fish habitat in the oilsands.

"I think people need to know the whole picture," Jean said later. "How much energy are windmills producing compared to how much energy the oilsands are producing . . . Yet they kill hundreds of thousands of birds over a 10-year period, millions of birds. And 500 birds in 10 years and the oilsands companies are on the front page of every newspaper in North America and many in Europe."

While professing support for the committee hearings, Jean suggested he is fed up with outsiders criticizing the oilsands.

"As important as it is to people from Toronto and Montreal, I can assure you this, that it's 100 times more important to my family and my residents and my constituents because we live there," he said.

"We breathe the air. We drink the water. I shoot ducks. I catch the fish. I eat the moose from that area. Do I want my children to eat that stuff and to drink the water and breathe the air? No, not if it's contaminated."

Earlier at the hearing, a top federal official said the government is troubled by the oilsands industry's heavy use of water. But he assured MPs that technological breakthroughs are expected to improve the situation.

"We are concerned about water use," Kevin Stringer testified. He said one to four barrels of fresh water are used to produce each barrel of oil.

He also said that between 75 and 90 per cent of the water used in the industry is recycled; that a federal-provincial government water management framework has been established for oversight; and that industry and government are working on technology to reduce water use.

Stringer is director general of the petroleum resources branch of the Department of Natural Resources. He was one of six federal officials from three government departments called as witnesses in the opening round. Environment and Fisheries were the other two.


Source: http://www.calgaryherald.co...

MAR 6 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/19380-birds-die-in-places-other-than-in-alta-oilsands-mp
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