Most wouldn’t turn down a free bottle of water, unless of course it’s straight from a lake said to be contaminated with arsenic and mercury due to oil sand production.
That water, from the lake near Fort Chipewyan and the Athabasca River, was offered to international investors and members of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) by environmental protestors yesterday as they came down from a meeting at the Hyatt.
“We’re here to tell the investing community that if they’re investing in the oil sands, they’re investing in something that comes with an increasing price tag,” said Mike Hudema from Greenpeace Canada.
Lionel Lepine from the Chipewyan aboriginal community said even the kids are wary about swimming in the lake and eating fowl or fish from the area.
“Our whole tradition and way of life is in jeopardy,” Lepine said.
But Ross Levin, an investor from New York who came out to see what was going on, said while there are real environmental issues, he’s not sure it would be economically wise to immediately halt oil sands production.
“If environmental activists want to change the system, they will have to bear the economic consequences,” he said.
Pierre Alvarez, president of the CAPP, said that there are regulations in place to minimize impact and, in the short term, he sees no alternative means of fossil fuels to meet demands.
As for the water, Alvarez said he “would have no hesitation drinking (treated) water from any municipality anywhere in the province.”