Newly released federal documents have revealed some potentially inconvenient truths about the environmental impact of Alberta’s oilsands industry, along with the risks and economic costs of the Harper government’s climate change strategy.
The documents take aim at a government assessment of the oilsands sector prepared by the Natural Resources Department.
Officials from Environment Canada who reviewed the original package, warned that it reflected the views of oil companies instead of the facts.
“The package should deliver neutral, balanced and factual information,” said the analysis. “Currently, much of the language is too pro-industry, and would make the government to be perceived as bias and thus not credible or serving the public good.”
The documents warn that some climate change and water quality policies are unproven and could drive up production costs in the oilsands by as much as $20 per barrel of oil, while creating new pollution that affects air quality. The price of oil is now trading on the markets at about $80 U.S. a barrel.