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The amount of fraternization between the Alberta Government and the Oil Industry always makes decisions such as these seem questionable.  The idea behind this three million dollar fine is more of a public relations ploy than anything

Making moonscapes here on Earth in the name or resource extraction.

else.  Consider that Government gets to look good for ‘protecting the environment’ and the company also gets to be thoroughly ‘punished’ for its environmental indiscretions.  Everyone wins!  Well except for the wildlife, the Athabasca river, the people dying of cancer because of the emissions from the tar sands the atmosphere… Well, the right people are winning gosh darn it!

“Oilsands giant Syncrude Canada will pay a $3-million penalty for the deaths of 1,600 ducks in one of its toxic tailings ponds in April 2008.

Syncrude lawyers and federal and provincial prosecutors presented the deal Friday morning in provincial court in St. Albert, Alta., and Judge Ken Tjosvold accepted it.”

Woo, the cordial relations between Alberta Government and the oil industry.  See, they can work together!

“Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert wouldn’t comment specifically on the court decision but said it sends a message to industry that the province will take action if environmental policies are breached.

“This whole process … shows that if there is a breach of an environmental regulation or legislation, that we are prepared to take action,” he said. “We did and the process unfolded and this is the culmination of it.”

In Vancouver, federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice said the fine was the largest in Canadian history for an environmental offence.

“I think this shows that we have strong environmental laws in Canada and that we will enforce them,” Prentice said.”

One would think that strong environmental laws would have stopped the creation of huge tailings ponds in the first

The cost of doing business.

place.  Again though, in the acceptable discourse, companies are ‘learning lessons’ and governments are ‘protecting the environment’.

CBC should be commended though as they did find room in their article to mention another point of view.

“A $3-million fine to a multi-billion dollar company equates to a slap on the wrist,” he [Mike Hudema of Greenpeace] said.

“This doesn’t send a very strong message to the industry that Alberta or the federal government is really serious about enforcing our legislation or that crimes like this can’t happen in the future.”

Exactly.  What this amounts to is a non-fine for non-important issue.  The correct notes have been played, the conductor has gesticulated in the appropriate way for the appeasement of the crowd.   The hall goes dark, and it is business as usual here in Alberta.

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