Environmentalists win review for tar sands project

Written by  //  March 6, 2008  //  Canada, Oil & gas  //  No comments

March 5
Environmentalists win landmark Kearl Tar Sands lawsuit
Ecojustice lawyer Sean Nixon was in court in January on behalf of the Pembina Institute, Sierra Club of Canada, the Toxics Watch Society of Alberta and the Prairie Acid Rain Coalition.
“This is a huge victory,” said Nixon. “The Court accepted our position that the environmental assessment was flawed, and that the Joint Panel failed to explain why it thought the Kearl Project’s environmental effects were insignificant. We will now consider whether to bring another lawsuit to challenge the project’s federal permit that was granted without legal authority.”
Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Legal Defence Fund) filed the lawsuit in Federal Court in March 2007 challenging a Federal-Provincial Joint Panel report that concluded the $5 to 8 billion project is not likely to result in significant adverse environmental effects. Evidence in the case showed that the Kearl Project will result in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions from 800,000 passenger vehicles over the 50 year life of the project. The Alberta government proposed to address these emissions through “intensity-based” emissions targets.
March 6, 2008
Court Questions Planned Oil Project in Canada
OTTAWA — The Federal Court of Canada has ordered a environmental review panel to take a second look at the greenhouse gas implications of oil sands project in Alberta proposed by Imperial Oil, an oil producer based in Calgary, Canada.
The Kearl project is estimated to cost 7 billion Canadian dollars ($7.1 billion). If it were approved, it would transform about 120 square miles of forest into a strip mine. Like other oil sands projects, its production would largely be destined for the United States.
In a ruling released Wednesday, Justice Danièle Tremblay-Lamer found that the review panel did not justify its finding that the measures proposed by Imperial Oil, which is controlled by the ExxonMobil Corporation, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the project to “insignificant levels.”
(Globe & Mail) Ruling could snarl oil sands projects
CALGARY — Oil sands projects could face tougher regulatory scrutiny after a federal court judge yesterday found the approval of Imperial Oil Ltd.’s $8-billion oil sands mine insufficient on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
A federal-Alberta review panel approved Imperial’s Kearl mine last year, saying it was in the public interest, although it worried about “critical challenges” on environmental issues and local problems in Fort McMurray. Alta.
The panel didn’t explain why it decided that 3.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year – equivalent of 800,000 cars on the road – wouldn’t be significant, Federal Court of Canada Judge Danièle Tremblay-Lamer said in a judgment published yesterday.
The court victory by environmental groups, four of which had appealed the panel ruling, signals that the spotlight and assessment of oil sands projects will become ever-more intense.

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