Government taken to task over deaths – Metro US

Government taken to task over deaths

Greenpeace is demanding the Alberta government stage a public inquiry into the deaths of nearly 500 ducks in a Syncrude tailings pond.

Mike Hudema of Greenpeace Canada spoke on the legislative grounds, saying while the government is looking into the role Syncrude played in the deaths, no one is looking at the government’s role.

“The province is not taking responsibility for these deaths,” Hudema said. “They have never said they would investigate their own role and that needs to be done by an independent body.”

“Waterfowl have been dying on a consistent basis,” he said. “Alberta Fish and Game said they have seen animals as big as moose in the tailings ponds. The only way we’ll get answers (to this) is with a public inquiry.”

Hudema said one of the biggest problems is the government giving the companies too much power when it comes to dealing with environmental incidents, citing the last two reports on wildlife in the ponds have come from tipsters and not the companies.

“This shows the glaring holes in the government letting industry write the rules in this province,” he said.

Almost 500 ducks died last week when they landed on a Syncrude tailings pond that had failed to put out its deterrent air cannons that ward off wildlife.

In Houston yesterday, the federal minister responsible for the oilsands said the incident will not go unpunished.

“We anticipate those responsible will face full scrutiny under Canadian law,” said Industry Minister Jim Prentice, according to notes of his acceptance speech for Canada being named “Country of the Year” by Energy Magazine.