Quote: Originally Posted by Cliffy
You miss the point. It is not just about some ducks dieing. It is how and why they died. If the stuff in the pond killed them, then probably nothing else can live in there either. And if that effluent makes it into the water supply, how many humans are going to die too. Did you see the list of animals that have died in the ponds besides the ducks? Having hundreds of square kilometers of toxic waste that is poison enough to kill ducks and large mammals is naturally going to make people really nervous.
To my knowledge, the tailing ponds are "ponds" only in name only. The "ponds" are/were not naturally occurring bodies of water, they are infills of the mining process or were artificially created to house the effluents. With that in mind, they did not have a natural ecosystem any more advanced than bacteria, microbes, etc... There was never a population of fish, waterfowl or other (complex) organisms that the tailing ponds had displaced.
Although I can not speak directly to the tailing ponds, I have a background in oil/gas environmental programs that relate to reclamation/remediation. With this in mind and assuming that the oil sands people are subject to the same laws as the rest of the industry, these "ponds" would require a system of multiple liners to prevent any seepage into the aquifers or any bodies of water.
Can the materials make it into the water shed?.. Sure, nothing is 100% guaranteed, but in the scope of all of the related societal pressures that might result in a similar contamination process, the oil sands operations are probably less likely to contaminate outside sources of water that have exposure to the ecosystem.
In terms of the list of animals that have died as a result of exposure to the tailing ponds, that is a very sad situation.. No question about it. However, where do we draw the line?
Urban development results in the deaths of many different species due to loss of habit, loss of food sources, exposure to toxins, getting hit by autos, etc.. To take the argument to the extreme, a farmer that disks, tills, plants, fertilizes, maintains and harvests a food crop will kill thousands of small critters as a direct result of operating that equipment... Should we ban that activity?
The point is that there are so many impacts that humanity has on nature that results in animals dying that the tailing ponds represent the thin edge of the wedge in this discussion... Invariably, that is why I brought up the deaths of ducks by hunters. The numbers quoted (125,000) represent just Alberta. Multiply that number by all of the provinces/states and the emphasis of the duck deaths on the tailing ponds is nothing short of an insult to the discussion.
Quote: Originally Posted by Cliffy
And as Cannuk so eloquently stated, the oil industry is only cleaning up their act because of threats from the government. And we all know that governments do nothing until the public outcry forces them to. They have been turning a blind eye for decades. Do you think that they just suddenly found the balls to enforce their rules because of some spiritual epiphany? If it weren't for those "eco-fringe" nut jobs alerting the public and the public pressuring the government, the tar sands would still be poinoning everything it touches.
Again, if this is about preserving the lives of these ducks, where is the outcry about hunting? Why are the activists ignoring this obvious activity that kills a hundred (if not thousand) times more ducks?
If there was a sincere effort in saving these animals, the eco groups would be tackling the biggest cause first and other forms of causation later as per significance of impact.
the point of my explanation is that the eco-fringe is not doing for the ducks, they are doing it to raise awareness of their individual groups for the purpose of marketing or raising donation money.... The ducks are a convenient excuse, but in the end, they don't give a rip about them.