Blog: Solar4All

RELEASE: Solar4All: Our allegiance to land, air, water, and sun
September 8, 2016
Keepers of the Athabasca participates in the Solar4All campaign. Our information tables this summer were met with enthusiasm and hundreds of signatures. Solar4All believes that everyone who wants to access solar energy should be able to do so. We are meeting with Infrastructure Minister Danielle Larivee to pass along the postcards that her constituents have signed supporting greater access to solar power on September 16, 2016. The Solar4All petition will be tabled in the Legislature next month.
» RELEASE: Solar4All: Our allegiance to land, air, water, and sun (345KB PDF)

BLOG: Solar for All! A blog by Jule Asterisk
August 30, 2016
Keepers of the Athabasca are in the process of developing two solar installation projects with First Nations in Alberta. Crystal Lameman of Beaver Lake Cree Nation is managing our partnership at her nation, along with other women heading up the Training Team, Site Team, and Garden Team, engaging their community in order to make decisions about where and how the solar equipment will be installed. According to Keepers of the Athabasca Co-chair Cleo Reece (Fort McMurray First Nation), "We need to stop our dependence on fossil fuels for energy and focus on renewable sources such as the abundant energy from the sun, and learn how to build and maintain our own energy systems."
» BLOG: Solar for All! Read the full post (207KB PDF)
» WEBSITE: Solar4All · Information, campaign, and petition
Video: Water is Life Conference, March 2010
Got Thirst? 1:07:54 mp4
Peter Cyprian and Cleo Reece co-chairs, Keepers of the Athabasca

Does the Alberta Tar Sands Industry Pollute? Part One 44:58 mp4 · Part Two 47:10 mp4
Dr. Kevin Timoney, Treeline Environmental Research

Pollution of the Athabasca River by the Oil Sands Industry 59:33 mp4 · Part Two 1:27 mp4
Dr. David W. Schindler, Killam Memorial Professor of Ecology, University of Alberta

Downstream Without a Paddle 38:50 mp4
Dr. John O'Connor, M.D.

Region of the Athabasca Basin 48:24 mp4 · Part Two 4:10 mp4
Dr. Suzanne E. Bayley, University of Alberta Department of Biological Sciences

Lower Athabasca River 42:35 mp4
Carolyn Campbell, Alberta Wilderness Association

Share the Water 10:59 mp4
Julia Ko, Policy and Program Coordinator, Water Matters
Alberta's Oil Sands Development is Not Responsible - Moratorium Needed
Helene Walsh
This report for Keepers of the Athabasca provides:
1. A compilation of evidence documenting the lack of information on cumulative effects on the environment in the oil sands region of Alberta, which is a requirement for regulatory approval of new projects under both provincial and federal requirements, and
2. Evidence that significant harmful environmental effects have occurred already.
This report's evidence supports a Keepers of the Athabasca recommendation to the Alberta and Federal Governments for a moratorium on new oil sands projects until existing cumulative effects are fully documented and properly assessed. The current plan to allow new development while a new monitoring program is being established, and implemented, is contrary to regulation and is not responsible development.
» Download the report 877Kb PDF
» Read the accompanying news release 427Kb PDF

Annual bird mortality in the bitumen tailings ponds in northeastern Alberta, Canada
Kevin P. Timoney and Robert A. Ronconi
Open pit bitumen extraction is capable of causing mass mortality events of resident and migratory birds. We investigated annual avian mortality in the tailings ponds of the Athabasca tar sands region, in northeastern Alberta, Canada. We analyzed three types of data: government-industry reported mortalities; empirical studies of bird deaths at tailings ponds; and rates of landing, oiling, and mortality to quantify annual bird mortality due to exposure to tailings ponds. Ad hoc self-reported data from industry indicate an annual mortality due to tailings pond exposure in northeastern Alberta of 65 birds. The self-reported data were internally inconsistent and appeared to underestimate actual mortality. Scientific data indicate an annual mortality in the range of 458 to 5029 birds, which represents an unknown fraction of true mortality. Government-overseen monitoring within a statistically valid design, standardized across all facilities, is needed. Systematic monitoring and accurate, timely reporting would provide data useful to all concerned with bird conservation and management in the tar sands region.
» Download the report 312Kb PDF

Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries
Erin N. Kelly, David W. Schindler, Peter V. Hodson and Jeffrey W. Short
We show that the oil sands industry releases the 13 elements considered priority pollutants (PPE) under the US Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Act, via air and water, to the Athabasca River and its watershed. In the 2008 snowpack, all PPE except selenium were greater near oil sands developments than at more remote sites. Bitumen upgraders and local oil sands development were sources of airborne emissions. Concentrations of mercury, nickel, and thallium in winter and all 13 PPE in summer were greater in tributaries with watersheds more disturbed by development than in less disturbed watersheds. In the Athabasca River during summer, concentrations of all PPE were greater near developed areas than upstream of development. At sites downstream of development and within the Athabasca Delta, concentrations of all PPE except beryllium and selenium remained greater than upstream of development. Concentrations of some PPE at one location in Lake Athabasca near Fort Chipewyan were also greater than concentration in the Athabasca River upstream of development. Canada's or Alberta's guidelines for the protection of aquatic life were exceeded for seven PPE - cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver, and zinc - in melted snow and/or water collected near or downstream of development.
» Download the report 580Kb PDF

In-Situ Tar Sands Extraction Risks Contaminating Massive Aquifers
Carolyn Campbell, AWA Conservation Specialist
Recent research has revealed significant risks to huge underground freshwater channels from tar sands activity north of Lac La Biche and Cold Lake. In this region, the bitumen resource is deep enough that underground extraction (in situ) techniques, often involving high-pressure steam, are used instead of surface strip mining. Given that accidental steam blowouts have already occurred in the region, the potential for pollution of Canada's largest freshwater aquifer is very real. Increased monitoring requirements are necessary now to manage these risks, and new oil sands project approvals in the region should be halted until these risks can be better understood.
» Download the report 533Kb PDF

Does the Alberta Tar Sands Industry Pollute? The Scientific Evidence
Kevin P. Timoney and Peter Lee
The extent to which pollution from tar sands industrial activities in northeastern Alberta, Canada affects ecosystem and human health is a matter of growing concern that is exacerbated by uncertainty. In this paper we determine whether physical and ecological changes that result from tar sands industrial activities are detectable. We analyze a diverse set of environmental data on water and sediment chemistry, contaminants in wildlife, air emissions, pollution incidents, traditional ecological observations, human health, and landscape changes from the Athabasca Tar Sands region, Canada. Increases in contaminants in water, sediment, and fishes downstream of industrial sources; significant air emissions and major pollution incidents; and the loss of 65,040 ha of boreal ecosystems are documented. Present levels of some contaminants pose an ecosystem or human health risk. The effects of these pollutants on ecosystem and public health deserve immediate and systematic study. Projected tripling of tar sands activities over the next decade may result in unacceptably large and unforeseen impacts to biodiversity, ecosystem function, and public health. The attention of the world's scientific community is urgently needed.
» Download the report 409Kb PDF
In the media
Keepers documents
Educational materials
Website: YukonWater
Here you'll find information about Yukon's water resources and how they are used, water management and the legislation that guides the Yukon's interactions with water, and the water monitoring that helps them understand and protect their water.

Video: Analyzing oil spills and environmental considerations
December 22, 2010 · Friends of Wild Salmon
In Anatomy of a Crude Oil Pipeline Spill: 2010 Enbridge oil spill into the Kalamazoo River, Michigan, Beth Wallace of the National Wildlife Federation presents a timeline of a recent Enbridge spill. In Beyond Spills: Environmental considerations for communities along Pipeline Corridors, Erin O'Brien of the Wisconsin Wetland Association discusses lessons learned from an Enbridge pipeline project.

Video: Clean, cheap, plentiful: Energy efficiency
October 19, 2010 · Ian Elwood, International Rivers
Global demand for energy is growing by leaps and bounds, and politicians the world over are responding with an environmentally damaging roll-out of big dams, more coal mining, and a push for more nuclear plants. But there is a better way to meet our needs. Efficiency is the cheapest, safest, fastest source of energy - and there is huge potential worldwide to offset new energy supply projects.