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Returning Land To Their Natural State? Not If You Go Bankrupt!


The toxic wastes of the Canadian oil patch in Alberta has been spreading in the boreal forest since bitumen mining began there in the 1960’s. 

The mix of clay, water, toxic acids and leftover bitumen has sprawled into artificial ponds big enough to cover an area twice the size of Vancouver. More than one trillion litres of the gunk called trailings fill these man made waste lakes. It would take five days for the same amount of water to pour over Niagara. The ponds emit methane and other greenhouse gases. They attract and kill migrating birds and are totally inhospitable to aquatic life. No fish and few invertebrates can live in them. 

According to Jodi McNeill, policy analyst for the environmental think tank, Pembina Institute, ”The ponds have grown and grown over the last five decades. If we continue kicking the can down the road we will be leaving a legacy of ten’s of billions in clean up costs to future generations”. 

Oil companies are required to return the lands they develop to their natural state, which is a joke, especially when they go bankrupt, which one did last August leaving 4,000 uncleaned wells and pipelines. The Alberta Energy Regulator has estimated it will cost $130 billion to clean up the mess if they can. It may not be so easy considering leakage from the ponds has got into the surrounding groundwater and the nearby Athabasca River. 

Of one thing you can be sure of – everywhere capitalism sticks its filthy tentacles it destroys life in one way or another.
For socialism, 
Steve, Mehmet, John & contributing members of the SPC

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