Alberta Oil Sands Up Close: Gunshot Sounds, Dead Birds, a Moonscape

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“It’s literally a toxic wasteland—bare ground and black ponds and lakes—tailings ponds—with an awful smell,” said Warner Nazile, who with Freda Huston spoke to university students in Denver recently about the tar sands and its related pipelines. Both are activists from British Columbia and members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.

They are two of the legions of First Nations citizens fighting against a pipeline that’s just as controversial in Canada as Keystone XL is in the United States: Enbridge’s Northern Gateway, a 36-inch, nearly $6 billion pipeline that would carry 525,000 barrels per day of crude from the oil sands 730 miles across and beneath lakes, streams and mountains to Kitimat on the British Columbia coast for shipment to Asia, particularly China. Hearings are currently under way in Edmonton, Alberta, before a review panel.

In a January 28 interview both Nazile and Huston talked about the pipeline’s current review in an environmental assessment and analysis by a joint review panel. Their conclusion is that, despite its despoiling an area roughly the size of England, the Northern Gateway means billions in revenue to the Canadian government, which has given the project full support.

Read more: Indian Country


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