Year 4, Month 8, Day 18: Sweet Sister Morphine

The Edmonton Journal talks about the Cold Lake catastrophe and the response from First Nations people:

EDMONTON – The chief and council of Cold Lake First Nations want a tour of traditional lands contaminated by four recent surface releases of bitumen emulsion from oil wells, says the First Nations industry liaison.

“We have many concerns because that’s our traditional territory,” said Christine Chalifoux, who works as liaison between Cold Lakes First Nations and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. “As always, our concern is how much damage is done to the land and the wildlife that is out there.”

After a spill reported June 24 affecting 40 hectares of land at Canadian Natural’s Primrose South location, as well as three other spills at its Primrose East location this spring, the Alberta Energy Regulator ordered the Calgary-based producer to stop a process using steam to melt bitumen, allowing it to pool into wells before turning off the steam and pumping out the bitumen.

Both projects are on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range about 240 kilometres east of Edmonton. That range, Chalifoux said, has been federally recognized as part of the First Nation’s traditional territory.

This is utterly tragic. July 26:

The apparently unstoppable bitumen leak that is rapidly destroying Cold Lake is a demonstration of the dangers inherent in allowing our planetary energy economy to become so heavily dependent on fossil fuels. There is a grim pathology evident in the behavior of all who participate in this system — everyone from corporate CEOs and their government enablers to ordinary consumers who need to drive to work.

Rationalizations, evasions, manipulations, and thoughtlessness are all depressingly common characteristics of addicts, and it is time to start calling our relationship with carbon-based fuels what it really is: an addiction. A junkie doesn’t care about the lives he destroys or the lies he tells, as long as he can get his next fix — and our petroleum-powered consumer society is likewise unconcerned about the destruction of regional ecosystems like that centered on a beautiful Alberta lake — we’ve gotta have that oil, whether it’s good for our long-term well-being or not (hint: it’s not).

The Earth itself — a small planet in an obscure corner of a minor galaxy — is increasingly vulnerable to the climatic consequences of our addiction. We all live on the shores of Cold Lake.

Warren Senders

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *