Target: Leona Aglukkaq, Canadian Minister of the Environment
Goal: Stop the expansion of tar sands projects that threaten a multitude of species
Tar sands oil development is ongoing across Canada and has already threatened the habitats of millions of animals. There are new plans to expand tar sands projects in Alberta, Canada, which would impact 140,000 square kilometers of the Boreal Forest, an ecologically diverse forest that serves as a mating ground to millions of migratory birds and is home to other threatened animals. The ecological devastation that has already taken place makes it clear that there is no going back once these projects are pursued by oil companies.
The tar sands industry creates a wide range of ecological disasters, including open pit mines, ponds of toxic mining waste, pollution, and pipelines and infrastructure that cause habitat fragmentation. Tar sands projects have already removed tens of thousands of acres of wetlands and forest, and have fragmented or destroyed wildlife habitat. There are now only 900 woodland caribou, a legally listed threatened species, left in the tar sands region. The National Resource Defense Council estimates that each year between 22 million and 170 million birds breed in the 35 million acres of Boreal forest and the Alberta Sands Network estimates that tens of millions will be lost over the next 20 years due to tar sands development, including North America’s only natural whooping crane population.
The new project covers an area the size of Florida and 20 percent of Alberta’s land base. Although tar sands companies are required to reclaim the lands they have disrupted, so far only 0.15 per cent of land that has been disturbed by tar sands mining operations has been reclaimed, and these reclamation efforts are controversial. The only way to avoid forever harming the animals that depend on the Boreal forest ecosystem is to prevent the expansion of the tar sands, make more aggressive efforts to reclaim damaged land and eventually phase out this dirty source of energy. Demand that the Canadian government halt the expansion of Alberta’s tar sands.
Dear Minister Leona Aglukkaq,
There are new plans to expand tar sands projects in Alberta, Canada, which would impact 140,000 square kilometers of the Boreal Forest. The Boreal Forest serves as a mating ground to tens of millions of migratory birds whose species’ survival depends on the vitality of this unique ecosystem. It has been estimated by the Alberta Sands Network that 30 million of these bird species will be lost over the next decade due to tar sands development, including North America’s only natural whooping crane population. The Boreal Forest is also home to other threatened animals, including the woodland caribou, which is on the verge of extinction with only 900 left.
The ecological devastation that has already taken place from Canada’s tar sands as well as unimpressive reclamation efforts makes it clear that there is no going back once these devastating projects are pursued by oil companies. Only 0.15 percent of land that has been disturbed by tar sands has been reclaimed, and these reclamation efforts are controversial, including atrocities such as topping off toxic pits with water, further threatening animal species who use them. This petition demands that the Canadian government halt the further expansion of the tar sands. Enough damage has already been done and we must now focus on reclaiming this devastated land and moving towards cleaner, less destructive sources of energy.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Just a Prairie Boy via Flickr