One of Idle No More's worries is about Bill C-45, where once our protected rivers and lakes numbered 2.5 million and, as of Dec. 5, that number dropped
This is bad. As well, the Environmental Assessment Act has been designed to streamline the approval process, meaning the rubber stamp of approval is more likely than an assessment of possible harm.
Who benefits from this? The petroleum pals.
As it stands, the industry sucks up 2.3 billion barrels of fresh water a year. Where does it all go? Technology called steam-assisted gravity drainage is used to melt the bitumen into "black syrup," which requires natural gas to create the steam.
First, they drain aquifers to boil more water. Second, for each amount of oil and natural gas extracted, the same amount is replaced with our water.
Canadians get to deal with the leftovers. In 2006, one tar sands pond was leaking naphthenic acids, trace metals, and ammonium into groundwater.
On top of that, Alberta Environment allows 150 pounds of arsenic to be dumped into the Athabasca River each year; this stuff dissolves a person's DNA when combined with benzene, another common tar sands toxin, leaving them open to developing cancer.
As of 2007, 23 per cent of Canada's waterways can no longer support aquatic life, due to phosphorous, nitrogen, and ammonia pollution.
Toxic sludge, water overconsumption, polluted rivers and lakes, and over-priced gasoline. What a deal! And who gets the brunt of the blow? Those who need the most help, who are already barely surviving on the minimal infrastructure provided on the barren reserves. They are especially at risk if they are unfortunate enough to be living downstream from this industrial sewage, suffering from high rates of renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism.
Now that Stephen Harper has opened the taps and released the oil companies from responsibility for their waste, rest assured that this poison is coming to a community near you.
His base province, Alberta, has already sold its soul to the industry with a conflict-of-interest-ridden Energy Resources Conservation Board, the province's oil and gas regulator.
According to Andrew Nikiforuk's Tar Sands, the regulator's rules "have allowed the board to approve oil wells in lakes and parks, permit sour-gas wells - as poisonous as cyanide - near schools, and endorse the carpet-bombing of the province's most fertile farmland with thousands of coal-bed methane wells and transmission lines."
Now this crime has become nationwide.
Hopefully, the alarms are ringing. Rivers are the lungs of nature, and we're allowing them to be clogged with industrial detritus. We're risking our communities, our health and our beautiful country.
I encourage you to stand by Idle No More, as they are the only ones standing up for our land. Our plants and animals are pleading you to say something.