photo: Rob Baxter
Lower oil prices may be cutting into the financial viability of Canadian oil sands projects, but as soon as oil prices rise again (and they will...) the drive to exploit one of the most environmentally destructive form of energy on the planet will suddenly come to the fore again. And Luc Bouchard, the Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese of St. Paul, Alberta (which includes oil sands development areas), is doing his part to make the moral case for stopping any further development:In a letter to his parishioners entitled The Integrity of Creation and the Athabasca Oil Sands, Bouchard says that, as currently developed, oil sands projects "cannot be morally justified." Here's more of what Bouchard had to say on the matter.
Bouchard detailed the well documented environmental problems associated with oil sands development: Destruction of the boreal forest ecosystem; potential damage to the Athabasca watershed; increased release of greenhouse gases; carbon intensity of oil sands production; the creation of toxic tailing ponds. And then went on to conclude:
Active Steps Must Be Taken To Alleviate Environmental Damage
...that the integrity of creation in the Athabasca Oil Sands is clearly being sacrificed for economic gain. The proposed future development of the oil sands constitutes a serious moral problem. Environmentalists and members of First Nations and Metis communities who are challenging government and industry to adequately safeguard the air, water, and boreal forest eco-systems of the Athabasca oil sands region present a very strong moral argument, which I support. The present pace and scale of development in the Athabasca oil sands cannot be morally justified. Active steps to alleviate this environmental damage must be undertaken.
via: The Globe and Mail and The Wall Street Journal
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