It is becoming clearer and harder to deny that the oil, energy, and resource extraction industries have negative effects on water quality in their surrounding ecosystems. For the Athabasca – Peace River Delta, this has become increasingly clear through the appearance of deformed wildlife, especially fish, and through the findings of the Community Based Monitoring program.
Last week, Senators and Members of Parliament were presented with hard facts and called upon to take action. Specifically, they were presented with the harmful effects of Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking), but the meeting contributed to the larger conversation about the relationship between industry and the people who are affected by the damage it can cause.
Hydraulic Fracturing isn’t common practice in the Oil Sands – the petroleum is extracted by other means – but the story is the same. The oil extraction industry, which includes Alberta’s Oil Sands, has contaminated Alberta’s water and damaged its ecosystems. The livelihoods of many have been compromised as a result, and it is these voices that must be heard. Here’s hoping that many more conversations like these take place on Parliament Hill and across the country in the months and years to come.
Chris Klassen is the Communications Coordinator for the One River, Many Relations documentary project and contributes content to One River News as a part of that work. He studied International Development and Communications at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, MB and is happy to be contributing to the work of building future relationships between land, people, and industry.