: 500 Ducks Die at Oil Sands Tailings Pond
Nanuuk, isn't the statement "a major incident like this" at odds with the later comment "500 ducks is insignificant"?
There are energy companies, like Shell and Exxon, which take PR seriously. They pioneered scenario issues management, in fact. But there are also smaller independent ones that cut their communications staff to the bone when there is a hint of a down turn. This issue needs to be taken seriously by Syncrude because whether the issue is significant isn't decided by the oil patch, or their friends in the Leg, it's decided by national and international media and they've decided it is significant. Five hundred ducks have become a symbol of greed and cutting corners.
2008-05-02, 05:02 PM
I don't think my two statements are incongruous. I also find Syncrude's explanation to be reasonable. They deploy these 'sonic' cannons yearly as a part of their operating license. They couldn't deploy them in time this years because of the screwy weather. Anyone who has lived out here for any length of time can attest that even the ducks sometimes don't know whether to fly north or south because of the weather.
2008-05-02, 05:09 PM
Syncrude has been in operation for 30 years without a major incident like this. At least none that have been discovered/reported...;-)
2008-05-02, 05:10 PM
I also think the loss of the 500 birds is unfortunate. I also think that there are oil companies out there that do care about the environment. I for one work for one of the larger ones. We have large projects in the oilsands and are trying to keep our impact on the environment to the lowest possible level. The company I work for is investing millions in devleoping cleaner methods of oil sands extraction.
The fact is we need the oil from the oilsands, and we need the jobs that this provides for us in Canada. It is easy for people to say that we should shut down the oilsands, but that would be devestating to the economy of Canada. This will not just effect Alberta, but all of Canada would be effected on one way or another. When you include the oil sands, Alberta has the second largest deposits of oil in the world, Saudi Arabia has the most. So we will eventually need this oil.
Anyway, sorry for going offtopic.
deleted lots more posts. This thread is not about the wealthiest cities in Canada or the world.
Its about 500 Ducks Dying at Oil sands tailing pond.
2008-05-02, 07:01 PM
That's in addition to charges the company could face for failing to keep the migratory birds off the ponds in the first place, which alone carries a potential $1-million maximum fine.
And what is $1 Million to that company?
Canadian Oil Sands [37% owner in Syncrude] reported revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 of $1.01 billion compared to $736 million in 2006.
The fine should be $100 Million, or just make them stop everything for 1 day.
But neither the Provincial nor Federal gov't have the stones to really go after these guys.
2008-05-02, 07:11 PM
I'm all for effective penalties, but, seriously, man - that's $200,000 per duck. At these prices, all ducks will be hunted into extinction overnight. :)
Certainly they should receive the full million dollar fine and I think prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Blaming the weather simply doesn't cut it and this would serve as a reminder to other companies that this type of stuff won't be tolerated.
Quote: The fact is we need the oil from the oilsands, and we need the jobs that this provides for us in Canada. It is easy for people to say that we should shut down the oilsands, but that would be devestating to the economy of Canada. This will not just effect Alberta, but all of Canada would be effected on one way or another. When you include the oil sands, Alberta has the second largest deposits of oil in the world, Saudi Arabia has the most. So we will eventually need this oil.
Another false dilemma: Who said we should shut down the oil sands? It's not an either or question.
I think it's devastating and affected (minor typo?)
And now the big one that I hope doesn't lead to another flag by Hugh: Isn't the Tar Sands bigger in reserves than all the Middle East? Granted, it's not conventional but unconventional reserves.
BTW, eventually we may not need oil at all:D
I would appreciate it if you could clarify how a major incident, a disaster, isn't in contradiction to insignificant.
2008-05-02, 08:57 PM
It is a major incident to Syncrude. They take their environmental protection responsibilities seriously, as do other operators. But compared to other wildlife losses in other industries, etc., it is not significant.
more off topic posts deleted.
For the last time this topic is " 500 Ducks Die at Oil Sands Tailings Pond"
We welcome your thoughts on this incident and what should be done with Syncrude. all other topics are not welcome
2008-05-03, 11:17 AM
I found this post on the Globe and Mail site. The poster is from Fort McMurray and is familiar with an oil sands operation. I hope this is within our forum's rules as I believe it speaks to a number of points.
MJ M from Fort McMurray, Canada writes: First it is an embarrasment that Syncrude wasn't diligent in getting the boomers up and running before the birds started flying, these things really work. I have driven by that tailings pond dozens of times, taken a whole bunch of people out to see the mine sites and in every case people asked about the boomers. At no time have I ever seen a bird near one of those ponds. The main pond is about 1/2 a km from a beautiful lake that Syncrude and Suncor in a parnership with Ducks unlimited restored as a breeding ground. This lake is full of ducks and geese etc. On April 24th we got a flash freeze and it snowed for 4 straight days dumping almost 4 feet of snow. Driving back form edmonton I saw ducks and geese in the weirdest places because all the open water was frozen over and they were confused.
Tailing ponds are a fact of life in all mining operations period. The ones at the oilsand mines are in fact less toxic than most because there are fewer truly toxic chemicals used in the upgrading process. The ponds are mostly sand, water and residual oil, unlike a gold or nickel mine where there are large amounts of arsenic.
Syncrude screwed up here and will pay, but this is the most overblown story of the year.
2008-05-03, 11:45 AM
I work/live about 10 minutes from the Aurora site, and the post from the G&M echos my sentiments. The boomers work - they keep me up all night! The freak storm was just that - a very wierd combination of events that confused a lot of people and wildlife. We had four foot drifts, no kiddding, and the snow blew sideways for three days at the height of the storm. Syncrude did not have the ones at that site up and running yet, and this is the result. It appears they tried to cover it up - not a good story to have in the news. But it has been blown way out of proportion. The deaths are graphic and could have possibly been avoided. However, more perspective regarding the big picture is required. Tragic? No question.
Ducks are cute and so are seals. Makes for good press any day when they are killed accidentally or on purpose...
2008-05-04, 03:40 PM
Is it a tragedy? Yes.
Has it been blown out of proportion? Yes.
Do I think that these companies should be held more accountable for their actions? Yes.
If the company would have lost 5 billion dollars for not having the boomers up in time. Do you not think they would have been up?
2008-05-04, 05:57 PM