Internal Document: Kearl Oil Sands Pose High Concern for Water Contamination


Internal government documents indicate that what Canada's environmental officials say publicly about the Kearl Oil Sands doesn't necessarily echo what they say privately.

Postmedia News, a publisher that owns several major Canadian newspapers, obtained previously confidential material that indicates that officials inside Canada's federal environmental department, there is concern about the environmental effects of the controversial project in Alberta.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his environment minister, Peter Kent, have repeatedly said that the oil sands project is "unfairly attacked by environmental groups that are exaggerating their effects."

But an Environment Canada PowerPoint presentation said the project risks contamination of the Athabasca River, which flows north from the oil sands. "There are questions about possible effects on health of wildlife and downstream communities," said the presentation from Canada's federal environmental agency. The presentation also said that the increase in greenhouse-gas emissions related to the oil sands would equal the increase in emissions from all other sources in Canada by 2020.

  • Environment Canada