Target: Alberta Premier Notley
Goal: Make oil company pay for damages caused by excessive steam injection that resulted in oil leaks which caused the deaths of dozens of animals.
Attempts to tap deeper reserves of oil have lead to four uncontrollable leaks in the heart of the Alberta oil sands, a recent study has shown. The study, commissioned by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), examined a series of leaks, some which are still ongoing. One of the main findings of the study was that four leaks, all at Canadian Natural Resources Limited oil sands extraction sites, were the result of the company injecting excessive amount of steam into oil sand sites. This resulted in the deaths of over 150 animals and required dozens more be rescued and cleaned. The areas around the leak are contaminated with bitumen, oil, and oil sands byproducts, many of which have been linked to long term health problems such as cancers.
Canadian Natural Resources Limited has a track record of pushing boundaries on safety, and have been fined several times for their actions including a $125,000 fine for leaving a valve open which resulted in 750 liters of crude oil seeping into a creek and an $8,000 dollar fine for building a pond for waste water without authorization. They have also been responsible for several leaks. However, considering Canadian Natural Resources reported profits last year of $3.9 billion, it is clear that these fines do not act as a real deterrent as it is often more profitable to pay the fine than to abide by the best practices of safety.
The AER study raises questions about the safety of future oil sands operations as the leaks were associated with attempts to extract deeper deposits of bitumen, and 80 percent of Alberta’s remaining oil deposits are deep deposits. It is critical that Canadian Natural Resources Limited face real consequences for their reckless operations.
Furthermore, considering the danger posed to the environment from continued oil sands production, these leaks should raise serious questions about the future viability of the oil sands project. Sign our petition and ask Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to ensure Canadian Natural Resources Limited faces consequences for its reckless actions and encourage her to review her government’s policies on the oil sands.
Dear Premier Notley,
The recent study published by the Alberta Energy Regulator should raise questions about the future viability of oil sands projects in Alberta. I urge you to review your government’s policy on oil sands.
Firstly, the fact that 80 percent of remaining oil reserves in Alberta are deep reserves should give us pause, considering the link between extracting deep bitumen deposits and leaks endangering the health and environment of Alberta. If there is no safe way to extract the oil then continuing to exploit oil sands quickly becomes a simple transfer of wealth from communities to energy companies such as Canadian Natural Resources Limited.
Secondly, the fact that Canadian Natural Resources Limited posted record profits of $3.9 billion clearly demonstrates that the fines for neglecting safety are not high enough. Canadian Natural Resources has a track record of neglecting the safety of their workers and surrounding communities as well as neglecting the environment.
Fines of $8,000 or $125,000 do not act as sufficient deterrence as it is often more profitable in the long term to operate in a manner that neglects safety measures. This is exemplified by CNRL’s reckless high pressure injections which resulted in the Primrose leaks.
Lastly, considering Canadian obligations under the Paris Agreement, we as a country need to seriously consider slowing and shutting down our extraction of oil. The global threat of climate change requires decisive action to safeguard our future. I hope you will review your policies on the oil sands and produce a regime that will demand safe and responsible business practices.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: jasonwoodhead23