While Big Oil claims it will green Alberta’s tar sands mine and melt sites, Shell's report lays out projected lake acidification and wild animal mortality.
They underplay the carbon impacts of what has been termed “the dirtiest oil on the planet” and trot out fancy technologies and plans that have yet to be put into action at industrial scale. And while there is a rosy picture painted for us Stateside, the business pages in Canada tend to lay bare the galling details of tar sands infrastructure pretty openly.
Shell says between its mine and other projects, some 9e per cent of wetlands and forests in the region will be lost or altered. Animals will also be affected. The Shell document catalogues an expected habitat decline of 34 per cent for barred owls, 13 per cent for beavers, 11 per cent for black bears, 19 per cent for Canada lynx, 49 per cent for Canada warblers, 18 per cent for wolverines and, most strikingly, the potential clearing of woodland caribou, a threatened species, from the area.
“Woodland caribou populations appear to be declining to extirpation,” the document says.