This morning the Teck Frontier tar sands mine hearing began in Fort McMurray.

The Teck Frontier mine, if approved and built, would be one of the largest tar sands mines in history. The picture below is where its being proposed to be constructed.

Proposed site of Teck’s Frontier Mine 30 kilometres south of Wood Buffalo National Park. If built, it would be one of the largest mines ever constructed in Alberta’s oilsands.

The project is being proposed just 30 kilometers south of Wood Buffalo National Park, a current UNESCO World Heritage site.  I say current for a reason.

Last year, UNESCO issued a warning about the environmental health of Canada’s largest national park. The Wood Buffalo National Park is already at risk of losing its UNESCO status because of ecological deterioration across 15 of 17 indicators.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, one of the world’s largest groups of conservation scientists, echoed those concerns saying Canada’s biggest national park is among the most threatened World Heritage Sites in North America.

These warnings come before the addition of a massive new tar sands mine that would levelan area twice the size of Vancouver, create more emissions than more than a million cars, create a new toxic tailings lake and have a massive impact on the already troubled ecological area.

The hearing itself may be mostly a show. The Alberta government and its energy regulator have approved almost 100% of tar sands project proposals.

Regardless of the impacts or the opposition to the project the rubber stamp always seems to come out.

This is one of the reasons why we fight so hard to stop pipelines. When we stop pipelines we stop projects like this from moving forward.

Teck currently doesn’t have a way to get its toxic product to market.

By keeping pipelines from getting built we protect areas like Wood Buffalo National Park because the Alberta and Canadian government don’t seem willing to.

Sitting in this room, listening to Teck try to greenwash its record you can see rubber stamp getting ready to come out. It’s heartbreaking to watch given the long list of impacts this project would have.

We may not get justice in this hearing, but I have faith in all the pipeline campaigns from Coast Salish territories (Vancouver) against Kinder Morgan, to those standing up to Line 3 in Minnesota, to the historic Cowboy and Indian Alliance putting up solar in the path of Keystone XL.

To all those protectors everywhere – thank you. You are doing what our governments will not. And as our government looks to approve a massive new tar sands project in a time of climate crisis, your actions are more needed than ever.