The Boreal Forest
OTTAWA — A panel of scientific experts will have 60 days to investigate new research suggesting that oilsands operations are contaminating the Athabasca River and endangering human health, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said Thursday.
“We are determined to develop Canada’s oilsands in a manner that it sustainable and environmentally sensitive,” said Mr. Prentice in a statement. “This independent review by some of Canada’s most respected scientists is a critical step in ensuring that environmental issues are balanced with economic considerations.”
Industry representatives have suggested pollution in the river is coming from natural deposits, but several prominent scientists, including David Schindler from the University of Alberta, have concluded the evidence overwhelmingly suggests the industrial activity is to blame.... Read more »
In a visit rivalling that of a royal dignitary, Canadian director James Cameron emerged as a high-profile voice for first nations groups who call Alberta’s oil sands “a curse,” pitting the Hollywood heavyweight against oil companies and the province that has long supported them.
Mr. Cameron effectively lent his celebrity to the leaders of several Alberta first nations by appearing with them Wednesday, thrusting their long-held complaints to unprecedented prominence.
But while many were wary of what Mr. Cameron describes as Hollywood “drive-by environmentalism,” he wielded a keen understanding of the industry and its intricacies, after wrapping up a three-day oil-sands tour. He was praised even by his opponents for listening to industry, government and first nations alike.... Read more »
After all that fuss, Alberta and the oilsands probably escaped James Cameron's visit with scraped knees rather than internal injuries.
The great movie man called for more regulation of the sands. Premier Ed Stelmach, the most regulation-friendly leader Alberta has ever had, can certainly live with that.
Most crucially, Cameron did not call for shutdowns or boycotts, although he wants a moratorium on new tailings ponds. That may be inevitable anyway.
Mostly, Cameron seems to want what the government already claims to be doing. You could sense the shudder of relief pass through the legislature.
All this might seem trivial, and maybe it is. But Cameron's views matter because his reach is so vast. A couple of good movies gets you a lot of airtime on this planet.
So Stelmach was right to race home from Ottawa to meet him (although his staff still insists the premier would have been back anyway.)... Read more »
With Alberta's oilsands in the spotlight like never before, Premier Ed Stelmach said Wednesday "quiet diplomacy" is the province's best counter to negative publicity -- rejecting a Hollywood director's warnings the resource could become "a curse."
James Cameron's tour of the oilsands this week has attracted international attention on Alberta that will likely only intensify with Oprah Winfrey taking an interest in his trip to the province.
Cameron delivered a measured but stinging critique Wednesday of the oilsands, and the need to moderate the scale and pace of development. He warned the resource could be "a curse" or "a gift" to Alberta, depending on whether the provincial and federal governments properly manage the bitumen bounty.... Read more »
EDMONTON — Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron believes Alberta's oilsands are a gift that could become a curse.
"It will be a curse if it's not managed properly. It can also be a great gift to Canada and to Alberta," Cameron said at an hour-long, packed news conference Wednesday afternoon. "I'm pragmatic enough to understand the powerful economic forces that are driving this development.
Cameron's stopover in Edmonton on Wednesday seemed every bit the spectacle of a Hollywood film premiere, with the director running a gauntlet of microphones and cameras as he rushed from meeting to interview to news conference. In one moment he was talking with Premier Ed Stelmach and several provincial cabinet ministers about environmental policy, the next he was being handed a script by an aspiring filmmaker and being chased by a crew working for TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey.... Read more »