Joslyn Mine Approval During Climate Negotiations Wrong, says Greens

DURBAN - Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says the new
Joslyn oil sands mine should never have been approved.  “It is further proof that the
Harper government does not take climate or climate negotiations
seriously.  Why did the federal cabinet wait ten months from when the
request for approval was forwarded to them in order to approve the Joslyn Mine
during COP17,” asked May. “What kind of message does that send to all of the
countries that are negotiating for our future here?”

The Joslyn Mine, 70km north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, will open up a new
area of over 221 square kilometres, with the potential to yield over 874
million barrels of bitumen over 20 years.  This new operation will add over
one and a half million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions to Canada’s output
each year, pushing us ever further from our reduction targets.

The mine has been undergoing a federal environmental assessment for six
years.  The process was delayed due to an inadequate environmental
assessment conducted by the company.  The assessment had failed to
properly assess the cumulative, long term effects of the project. The majority of
the mine is owned by French company Total E&P.  The Energy Resource
Canada Board approved the project at the beginning of 2011; Cabinet took
another ten months for final approval.  "The efforts of the Minister
to blast the environmental assessment process is inappropriate and suggests the
government has not yet finished with its slashing of environmental assessment in Canada,” said May.

"Our most eminent scientists recommend that we stop the growth of
the oil sands until we figure out how to better deal with the waste, until we
have the facilities to process the oil properly within Canadian borders, and
until we get our emissions under control.  The government seems happy to
completely ignore any fallout from its decisions, blindly continuing business
as usual as long as it profits the oil companies,” said May.

"The two week consultation period with First Nations, coming after
the approval of the mine, is simply insulting,” said May.  "Obviously
the Harper government does not care what First Nations think, what Canadians
think, nor do they care what the global community thinks.  A lot of
attention is focused right now on Canada’s poor performance in Durban and their
bad faith negotiating tactics. This is just another nail in the coffin of our
international reputation,” said May.



Media Contact:

Rebecca Harrison