Duck Death Toll Triples to 1,606 at Alberta Tar Sands Site

dead rubber ducks photo

photo: Ken Bosma via flickr

In an example of why tar sands companies' efforts to focus on ways to reduce the carbon intensity of their operations misses some of the equally bad, and more immediate, environmental problems with tar sands extraction, it has come out that the number of ducks killed last April at a Syncrude site in northern Alberta was triple what was initially reported. The final tally of ducks killed after they landed on a toxic waste pond now stands at 1,606. So why the discrepancy?:Syncrude CEO Tom Katinas was quoted by Reuters as saying,

You have to understand that recovery of birds occurred over several months, so as the number started rising people like myself were in shock. I called people in and demanded to know what happened there.

True Number Couldn't Be Revealed Because of Court Case
The reason in took an entire year for the true death toll to come out? Syncrude is facing federal and provincial charges over the duck deaths and Katinas said he could not publicly revise the initial estimate due to the ongoing investigations in the court case.

Deterrent System Was Not In Place
Although noise-producing duck deterrent systems are supposed to be in place at these waste ponds a snowstorm had delayed their deployment in this instance. As all other bodies of water in the area were still frozen, the ducks were left no other place to land than the toxic pond.

via: Reuters
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