Tuesday, August 11, 2009

will steve harper stand up for the environment, or the polluters? acid rain blamed on oilsands

Posted by Christian  |  at  11.8.09

steve harper in Bonn, Germany, May 2008

~“Canada has gone to great lengths to protect and preserve our rich and diverse environment, and in our country this is not just a government enterprise. We are partnered with many private individuals, corporations and non-governmental organizations dedicated to environmental philanthropy.”

Show us what you’re made of, steve.


story from the CBC

Heads up, Saskboy!  The Saskatchewan Environmental Society has released a statement {warning-PDF} claiming data collected from the Saskatchewan environment ministry, shows that rain falling in the La Loche area of the province has a a pH level which falls under Environment Canada’s definition of acid rain. The reason? Activity from the Alberta oilsands.


“The majority of the acid precipitation falling on the La Loche region is coming from oil sands plants in neighboring Alberta” said Josef Alcoming ,conservation biologist and Saskatchewan Environmental Society Board Member.

“Those operations are releasing vast amounts of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere – more than 200,000 tonnes per year.The prevailing winds for much of the year are from west to east with the result that approximately two thirds of these pollutants make their way into Saskatchewan.”

The society wants the federal government to intervene and place regional caps on the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide that activity associated with oilsands development can release into the atmosphere. In their view, pollution crossing provincial boundaries puts the issue under national jurisdiction, justifying federal intervention.


I’m sure steve will get right on that.

pH levels


The generally accepted threshold for normal rain is a pH of 5.6. Environment Canada has determined any value less than five may be termed acid rain.

Ann Coxworth, a spokeswoman for the environmental society, said data from the Saskatchewan government shows the average pH level for rain and snow in the La Loche area is 4.96.



According to the full statement, many test results fell below levels of 4.96.

So what are some of the risks to lakes and rivers? According to  Environment Canada:

As water pH approaches                                      Effects
         6.0 ~crustaceans, insects, and some plankton species begin to disappear.

~major changes in the makeup of the plankton community occur.

~less desirable species of mosses and plankton may begin to invade.

~the progressive loss of some fish populations is likely, with the more highly valued species being generally the least tolerant of acidity.

   Less than 5.0

~the water is largely devoid of fish.

~the bottom is covered with undecayed material.

~the nearshore areas may be dominated by mosses.

~terrestrial animals, dependent on aquatic ecosystems, are affected. Waterfowl, for example, depend on aquatic organisms for nourishment and nutrients. As these food sources are reduced or eliminated, the quality of habitat declines and the reproductive success of birds is affected

And I thought I was just a lousy fisherman.

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