Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Oil companies finalize pact to share tailings research

Here is a prediction that I hope is wrong. This 'coalition' of tar sands producers will finish their sharing of dry tailings technology, which is already being advertised by Suncor on the side bar of google. Then the "invisible to the outside" dictators of the "non-existent" North American Tar Sands Coalition (in particular, Michael Marx and Jennifer Lash) will continue to promote through post cards and websites with the ever-so-personal auto send a letter technology for people to "demand that something be done on tailings ponds" (who could be against that, right?) We will see more pictures of ducks and occasionally someone may even mention a downstream community or two.

Then a few more articles praising the outcome of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement will come out, re-suggesting that forestry companies be seen as a model for tar sands corporations when it comes to dealing with environmentalists, and enviros will be reminded that tar sands production is "inevitable". Then the talks will go on, with smaller numbers at the table. Any announced deal will talk about the commitment of all parties to implement the "dry tailings technology" described below, since it is *in their best interests anyway* and people like Lash, Marx and others will celebrate the "victory" and then tar sands organizing will become *unfunded*, *demobilized* and throw away all the communities who trusted that this time that wasn't going to happen.

Hope I'm wrong. History, not me, says otherwise.


Oil companies finalize pact to share tailings research
Calgary— Globe and Mail Update
Published Monday, Dec. 13, 2010

Canada’s oil sands mining companies have made official a pact to share their internal research into one of industry’s most difficult environmental problems.

Seven companies will “work together in a unified effort” to pursue new techniques to clean up tailings, the toxic effluent produced by bitumen extraction.

The new partnership is made up of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, Imperial Oil Ltd, Royal Dutch Shell, Suncor Energy Inc, Syncrude Canada Ltd., Teck Resources Ltd. and Total S.A.

“We believe that this relationship is a key step towards tailings solutions that will allow us to accelerate the pace of reclamation using the most advanced environmental measures,” said John Broadhurst, vice president of Shell’s oil sands development, in a statement released Monday morning.

“The issue is not whether we can manage tailings - the issue is whether we can do it better,” he said.

The partnership has promised to “eliminate monetary and intellectual property barriers to the use of knowledge and methods related to tailings technology and research and development,” although it did not release specifics of how that would work.

Companies have promised to reveal the tailings research they’ve already conducted, and to collaborate on future work. They are also pledging to give access to that data to academics, regulators and others.

The oil sands Industry has produced 170 square kilometres of tailings in massive ponds made up of water laced with heavy metals, naphthenic acids and a small percentage of unrecovered bitumen.


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