Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

The Silence of the North: when the tailings ponds let go....

Ingmar Lee writes:

In the context of all the hot-air being emitted at Copenhagen, I offer this

I've just read a fantastic piece of historic Canadian literature, (The
Silence of the North) -a memoir by pioneer trappers-wife, Olive A.
Fredrickson, as told to author Ben East. She reminisces from her experiences
in the north of Alberta and BC in the 1920's when all was wild up there. Her
travels in the then wilderness took her all through the area around Fort
McMurray, now the epicentre of the Alberta Tar Sands planetary blight.

Here, I quote a poignant and alarming passage from her book, which documents
a massive, destructive ice-jam which tears down the Athabasca River,
creating destruction and havoc right into Fort McMurray. I shudder to think
that a similar catastrophe today will tear apart the flimsy, earthworks
ramparts which shore up the massive and totally poisonous tailings ponds
which contain the by-products of dirty-oil production:

"...all of a sudden we heard a thunderous noise upriver, and looking that
way we could see a pile of ice like a small mountain springing up in
midstream. I had lived along the Athabasca long enough to know what that
meant. The river ice had started to move and a jam was forming in the rapids
a half mile above. I knew the awesome power of that ice, and knew we needed
to get back to Fort McMurray without losing a second. We were in no actual
danger for if the ice cut us off on the trail, we could climb the tar-sand
hills back from the river. But those hills were brushy and rough and that
would mean a very hard hike, especially with the baby. Walter wasn't as
concerned as I was, for he had never lived close to a big north-country
river, but he took my word for it, and we started to hurry back. We had not
gone a quarter mile when the jam began moving slowly down, and with blasts
like the crash of cannon, the three-foot-thick ice ahead of it, where we
were, started to break and go. The Athabasca was over a half mile wide
there, but there was no room in the channel for that huge, moving mountain
of ice. The whole groaning, cracking mass ground and shoved its way along
with unbelievable force, tearing trees out by the roots, gouging away tons
of riverbank, and where the shore was low, pushing onto the land, flattening
brush and tipping trees in a smashed tangled rubble. At a small canyon, we
found it thrusting onto the shore for about 400 yards, and we made a long
rough detour up the hill, and then clawed our way through the thick stuff
back to the trail. Back at Fort McMurray we met a sight that was hard to
believe. A huge ridge of ice was piling up on the three-acre island in the
middle of the river, plowing and churning trees, earth, rock until the whole
island was ground away. Then the ice stopped moving, except for a muddy
channel one hundred feet wide on our side. Another jam had formed. That jam
backed the ice up a mile up the Clearwater, tearing boats apart, knocking
down houses, and wrecking a sawmill. Many people took refuge on the hill
behind the settlement. But within an hour the pent-up force of the mighty
river broke the jam, and the ice moved once more..."

Now check out this GoogleEarth image of some of the tailings ponds along the

When, not if, those tailings ponds discharge their effluent into the river,
that will irreparably pollute the Mackenzie River watershed all the way to
the Arctic Ocean, -the 10th largest river system on the planet.

This horrific scenario underlines the dreadful Greenwash fraud of the Gordon
Campbell regime, which is encouraging the development of an 1100 km, one
metre diametre pipeline right across our province, to deliver tar-sands oil
to the BC coast, which will then be loaded onto a veritable super-tanker
traffic-jam of 200+ 1000ft VLCC's (Very Large Crude Carriers) to be
distributed to the worlds insatiable internal combustion engines. We have to
ask, -how is it that reknowned Nobel-prize winning climatologist Andrew
Weaver and the various other collaborationist sycophants, (ForestEthics,
Dogwood, Pembina etc.) who helped reelect this government can purport to
care about our beleagured planet.

Cheers, Ingmar Lee

Ingmar Lee
Box 60
Denny Island, BC
V0T 1B0

Ingmar Lee is an environmental activist who lives on the BC Central Coast,
in the so-called, purportedly protected 'Great Bear Rainforest', -right in
the Dirty-Oil supertanker pathway.

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