Untold Stories

Photo courtesy: STOCK.XCHNG

This section of our questionnaire elicited a lot of interest and comment from the study respondents. When asked if there are stories pertaining to the oil sands that are not being reported, 14 out of 20 said yes.

Of the 14 who said there were untold stories:

• 7 mentioned environmental issues that were not being reported. These concerns included: damage done by the tailing ponds; contaminants in the water systems; the new directions in environmental monitoring; the impact of excess sulphur produced during the mining process; renewable energy and a post-carbon future.

• 4 mentioned science and technology issues.

• 4 mentioned the local, national and international political ramifications of oil sands development.

• 2 said there are untold stories about the oil sands and health issues.

• 2 mentioned work site and occupational health and safety issues.


• Life working in the oil sands, with human-interest angle potentials.

• Occupational health and safety hazards and unsafe practices.

• How we will achieve a post-carbon future.

• Tailings ponds updates.

• Is in-situ really the “golden goose?”

• Aboriginal participation and reaction to oil sands development.

• What happened to the project in the Edmonton area for a railway for sulphur?

• Plans to start shipping by rail.
TOLD: Pipeline protests spur companies to consider shipping oilsands crude by rail, Postmedia News, Aug. 10, 2012.
The crude-oil train has left the station, The Globe and Mail, May 7, 2013.

• Technology on the scene that attempts to do things “in a more environmentally friendly way.”
TOLD: NRC teams with companies to use oilsands greenhouse gas to make biofuels, The Canadian Press, May 9, 2013.

• How water and steam-assisted gravity is being used in the oil sands.

• Contaminants in the river system not being told thoroughly.

• What’s the distinction between scientific research and proprietary data?

• Changing policy, and the battle over policy, around environmental monitoring in the oil sands.
TOLD: Oil sands industry to pay for environmental monitoring under new law, Beacon News, May 14, 2013.

• Role of the N.W.T. and the cross-territorial/provincial boundary issues when it comes to the emissions and contaminants.

• Potential health implications.
TOLD: Another Alberta family flees oil sands pollution, The Tyee, March 22, 2013.

• Scientific efforts made by companies and organizations to reduce tailings ponds, among other things.
TOLD: Cleaner oil sands production is coming [column], Financial Post, May 13, 2013.
Greening the Oil Sands [series], The Tyee, June 2012 and March 2013.

• Lack of interesting R&D, most money seems to be dedicated to carbon capture.

You can read the direct quotations from our respondents in our study here. (APPENDIX 3: pp. 31-33)

DO YOU HAVE UNTOLD STORIES OF THE ALBERTA OIL SANDS? Please send them on to jpaskey@mtroyal.ca or gsteward@mtroyal.ca