A mounting number of groups are petitioning Alberta’s Minister of the Environment Diana McQueen for answers regarding two spills from tar sands giant Suncor Energy.
The letter comes just over a week after eleven groups sent an initial letter to the Minister after the 2,200 barrel toxic water release at Suncor’s tar sands operation.
Join the more than 14,000 people who have signed a related public petition launched by the corporate accountability group SumOfUs
The 44 groups are hoping the Minister will immediately release pictures and answers to the questions outlined in the letter. The letter reads:
April 3, 2013
Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
Government of Alberta
Dear Minister McQueen,
As representatives of environmental, First Nation, labour and landowner groups we are very concerned about the startling details released last week regarding the 2011 3-day Suncor toxic release into the Athabasca river and the continued lack of information regarding the March 25, 2013 pipe burst that also went into the Athabasca.
Premier Redford has continued to assert her government’s transparency but we continue to see instances where the public cannot even get simple answers. These latest two shocking incidents are only the latest example of this government’s lack of transparency.
Related to the 2011 Suncor toxic release into the Athabasca we ask that you immediately publicly release answers to the following questions:
- Why is information on this 2011 spill only being made public now?
- Will the deadline for filing a private prosecution be extended, given that the delay in releasing information has caused the normal filing period to expire?
- When did the company first report the event?
- What chemicals went into the river?
- What chemicals are in the pond now?
- Why were charges never laid against Suncor?
- What percentage of tar sands company exceedances & releases are prosecuted?
- How many other incidents or releases are there?
Related to the March 25, 2013 Suncor pipe rupture and release into the Athabasca river we want you to immediately and publicly release answers to the following:
- Who initially reported the rupture (company representative, public citizen etc.)?
- When did they discover it?
- What happened in the 7.75 hours after the rupture occurred and before the Government of Alberta was notified?
- What specific chemicals were in the pipeline?
- How close was the rupture epicenter to the Athabasca River?
- When will all pictures of the event be released?
Finally, we need the long awaited independent monitoring system instituted as soon as possible. A growing number of Albertans don’t trust the government or the tar sands industry to give them factual information, thus an independent monitoring system is key to restoring trust.
In the future we also hope that rather than the public forcing the release of such information that it will instead be forthcoming from the government that the people of Alberta elected. Each time there is an exceedance or incident the public should be notified in a very clear way and should have basic details of the event and be able to see pictures of the event.
This public transparency needs to become the norm in Alberta rather that the rarity it currently is.
Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
Alberta Surface Rights Group
Alberta Wilderness Association
Canada's Citizens Climate Lobby
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
Canadian Youth Climate Coalition
Catch the Keys
Central Athabasca Stewardship Society
Climate Action Network
Council of Canadians
David Suzuki Foundation
Forest Ethics Advocacy
4RG (For Our Grandchildren)
Georgian Triangle Association
Global Community Monitor
Hungry for Climate Leadership
Indigenous Environmental Network
Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign
Keepers of the Athabasca
L'Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique
Living Oceans Society
Natural Resources Defense Council
Onoway River Valley Conservation Association
Pipe Up Network
Public Interest Alberta
Sierra Club of Canada
Sierra Club B.C.
Sierra Club Prairie Chapter
Society of High Prairie Regional Environmental Action Committee
Springvale Surface Rights Association
United Landowners of Alberta
West Coast Environmental Law
Windfall Ecology Centre
Cc Steve Williams, president and chief executive officer, Suncor Energy