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THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD PROTECT US FROM TAILINGS POLLUTION, NOT ALLOW MORE OF IT

The federal government is developing regulations that would allow oil producers to release toxic water, which they store in tailings ponds, back into the environment, something that they have not been able to do for decades. 

Tailings ponds are human-made reservoirs the size of lakes which hold toxic waste coming from oil extraction. These ponds leak millions of litres of toxic water every day and they are located near the Athabasca River, a source of fresh drinking water for First Nations and Metis communities and home to rich biodiversity. 

The oil sands tailings ponds in Alberta require immediate and urgent attention.

Tailings ponds contain harmful chemicals such as mercury, arsenic and naphthenic acids, all of which pose a risk to the Athabasca river, the wildlife it hosts and the communities that depend on it. The federal government has a role to play in addressing the important health and environmental threats they pose. 

Allowing industry to release the tailings in the river is not a solution. 

Industry claims that they will treat the tailings water before releasing it into the Athabasca river. Yet, there is no independent scientific evidence to suggest that this treat and release method could be done in a way that would be safe for the First Nation and Metis communities living downstream and for the wildlife dependent on the river. The government's new regulations could allow for more, not less, pollution. 

Oil producers have created this problem. They built tailings ponds that leak, allowing them to grow out of control, and are now asking for a cheap way out of it. Instead of listening to the concerns and requests of the impacted First Nation and Metis communities, the government is allowing industry to move forward with unproven methods. 

Tell the Minister of the Environment, Steven Guilbeault not to allow industry to dump unsafe toxics into the Athabasca River.  


Your message will be sent to: Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Marc Miller, Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations, and Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health

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Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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The Honourable
Steven
Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Hon.
Jean-Yves
Duclos
Minister of Health of Canada
Hon
Marc
Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations