81 - From Tar Sands to Great Lakes

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The Tar Sands of Northern Alberta never cease to elicit debate. Located near the remote community of Fort McMurray, they are the world’s single largest industrial project – and the only one visible from outer space.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, one of the the project’s strongest supporters, has said the development is akin to the building of the great wall of China – only bigger.

It’s critics, though, are vocal – and growing in number.

The extraction bitumen from the tar sands is a resource intensive and dirty process. Critics point to the high amount of pollution produced during extraction, processing, and the eventual use of the oil.

Concern has also been raised over its impact on local communities and wildlife. Development of the tar sands has cleared large swathes of vegetation and natural habitat, and abnormally high cancer rates have appeared in nearby communities, including among the Dene of Fort Chipewyan. All of this has led to major concerns about the true cost of harvesting this source of oil.

And the questions have spread beyond the reaches of Alberta. Across Canada and the United States, environmental and citizen’s groups are starting to ask about the potential impact of the transportation and use of the oil being extracted in Alberta.

In this week’s podcast, Maggie Hughes returns to CITIZENShift with her piece, ‘From Tar Sands to Great Lakes.’ In it, she investigates growing concerns over the transport through pipelines of tar sands oil through Central Canada and United States, and it potential impact on the largest source of fresh water in the world.

This podcast coincides with the launch of CITIZENShift's newest multimedia dossier: ‘Exploring Alberta’s Tar Sands: Fuelling whose economy?’, produced by freelance journalists Chris Arsenault and Sebastian Harder. The dossier is a work in progress - so make sure to visit and join in the discussion by adding you own videos, pictures, audio, links or articles.

As always, if you have any comments or thoughts about the podcast you’d like to share, make sure to visit our site!


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