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Greenpeace gives Alberta premier photos of ducks in oilsands tailings pond

EDMONTON - Greenpeace activist Mike Hudema marched up the steps of the Alberta legislature Wednesday to present Premier Ed Stelmach with pictures of ducks killed in an oilsands tailings pond.

EDMONTON - Greenpeace activist Mike Hudema marched up the steps of the Alberta legislature Wednesday to present Premier Ed Stelmach with pictures of ducks killed in an oilsands tailings pond.

One of the premier's aides met the activist just inside the front door of the legislature and took the photos, promising to forward them to the premier.

Stelmach raised a few eyebrows when he told reporters earlier in the week that he hadn't seen recently released photos of the 1,600 ducks that died in April 2008 after landing on the sludge ponds.

The premier later recanted and said he'd seen photos of the ducks that landed in a Syncrude tailings pond close to the time of the incident, which led to charges against the oilsands company.

But Hudema says it's time for the premier to stopped hiding from the horrific images of the sludge-covered ducks.

"Ultimately, the horror show that is the tarsands...is the premier's responsibility," said Hudema. "It's time that he stops denying that these problems exist."

Hudema says Alberta's Tory government has lax environmental standards that allowed the creation of lake-sized toxic ponds in the northern oilsands region.

He says it's time the province starting taking action to reduce oilsands activity in favour of green energy projects.

"Looking at the problem is the first step. The world has seen these pictures," said Hudema.

Syncrude Canada Ltd. is currently on trial in Alberta for not taking action to prevent the ducks from landing in the toxic sludge pond nearly two years ago.

The company has argued that a spring snowstorm prevented the deployment of noise-making cannons used to scare waterfowl away from the lake-sized tailings pond.

However, court has heard other oilsands companies in the area had their cannons in place at the time.

 
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