Birds more important than workers & fracked families: What game is AER playing at this time? Trying to impress the SCC that AER is not a worker & wildlife killing, pollution enabler? Because ruling in AER’s Leave to Appeal Redwater awaits? Syncrude charged in deaths of 31 great blue herons at tarsands mine; *If* convicted, faces maximum penalty of $500,000

Why more press on wildlife killing by the oil and gas industry, greedily set up and enabled by the law violating AER, than worker killing, family poisoning, water contamination and farm polluting?

2017 08 04: Fracking by Karve Energy Inc. at Consort Alberta killed Charles Oba, Calgary father of two; Family demands answers. Police not releasing name of the victim. Will Karve Energy blame Charles?

2017 04 16: Corporate and AER Greed Knows No Bounds, Especially in Alberta: Despite economic slowdown, Alberta work fatalities jump by 15 per cent last year

2014 02 11: Alberta workplace fatalities close to record numbers in 2013, led by a near doubling of fatalities caused by occupational disease

2016 10 25: Shell Canada, Fox Creek Alberta: 47 year old worker killed by water hose in AER’s Blanket Approval, “Brute Force & Ignorant” Frac Frenzy Pilot Project

2013 09 27: Alberta drastically under-reports workplace injuries

2013 02 10: Workplace Deaths Drop – But not in the Oil Industry

2014 02 01: Fracking Injuries, deaths and dangers for workers and communities

And that’s why: 2016 10 01: Drilling through danger Chapters 2 & 3: Oil & gas industry’s practice of farming out work can have deadly consequences, client legal immunity prevents many injured from suing, even when fault is clearly the client’s

2015 12 01: “Abnormally dangerous and ultra hazardous activity.” Did TRC or Chevron’s fracing kill Robert David Taylor? What happened to California regulators’ vows to make steam injections safer? “Safer?” Why not make it “safe?”

2015 03 02: N.D. Supreme Court approves benefits in vapor death; Industry Group Issues Warning For Fracking Vapors: ‘One Breath Could be Death’

2016 04 26: Is Anadarko leaking explosive methane into homes in Colorado? Company to shut down 3,000 oil wells after fatal home explosion April 17, 2017 in Firestone, Weld County that killed two, injured two.

2017 08 01: “Justice” Alberta Style: Suncor ignored safety problems before operator plunged to death in tailings pond, Fined a measly $300,000 for causing death of Jerry Cooper, who worked 13 years for the company

2014 07 07: Business Insurance: Oil boom and fracking cause spike in energy industry workplace deaths. Do you have copies of Commercial Liability Insurance Coverage for companies operating near your home and loved ones?

2017 06 01: New study on diesel pollution: “There is strong evidence that particulate matter (PM) emitted mainly from diesel road vehicles is associated with increased risk of heart attack, heart failure, and death.” Ever wonder why so many get sick when the oil & gas industry invades your home & community? Air pollution cost Canadians $36 Billion in 2015 alone!

2016 01 15: Is “Best in Class, Shut the Frack Up” AER a regulator or abusive enabler of deadly harm? Bad air: Oilpatch toxic air still fuming in Alberta despite regulator huff ‘n puffing

2015 06 30: Cumulative Impacts Frack Attack? Double Homicide in “No Duty of Care” AER and Gerard Protti’s Fox Creek Blanket Approval Pilot Project

2013 10 24: Air Pollution and Cancer Spikes linked in Alberta; Alberta’s Oil Legacy: Bad Air and Rare Cancers, Sickening carcinogens now saturate Industrial Heartland, study finds

2014 12 04: A lot too late: Federal officials warn about dangers of airborne petrochemicals blowing out of oil well tank hatches

2015 04 15: Edmonton’s bad air: “Levels of contaminants higher than in some of the world’s most polluted cities have been found downwind of Canada’s largest oil, gas and tar sands processing zone…where men suffer elevated rates of cancers linked to such chemicals”

2015 07 27: Pennsylvania Study Links Fracking to Health Hazards in Fetuses, Infants, Young Children: 35.1% more cancer in children ages zero to four in heavily frac’d counties. Compare to AER’s belittling, dismissive health study in the Lochend

2015 12 05: Oil Patch Boom ‘n Bust Harm? Alberta’s suicide rate, always slightly higher than national average, Spikes up 30 per cent in first half of 2015, compared to last year

2015 06 15: HORRIFYING Bakken Oil Boom “Serial Killer” MUST READ: In North Dakota’s Bakken oil boom, there will be blood

2014 08 29: U.S.Centers for Disease Control Preliminary Study: Finds dangerous levels of benzene in frac workers’ urine; Imagine the urine of children living beside frac’ing

2014 02 03: 3 oilfield workers die hitting school bus; School officials plan to meet with fracking companies “to figure out how to keep kids safe from the traffic dangers caused by the oil boom”

2017 06 20: Calgary wants control over contaminated sites (1,766 known in the city!): “Oftentimes the authority is not aligned with the ability.” AER & industry set taxpayers up to be hung with $300 Billion in oilfield liabilities. Enabled by the courts? Alberta Cancer Cases Expected to Sky Rocket – How much caused by oilfield pollution? 18,600 new cancer cases expected in Alberta in 2017!

2016 09 25: “My son was murdered” Drilling through Danger Chapter One: Regulatory vacuum compounds inherent risks; In 12-year span, an oil and gas worker died once every three months on average in Colorado, 51 workers died between 2003-14, victims of a system focused more on protecting industry than its employees

2014 04 04: SPECIAL REPORT: Sour gas from oil wells a deadly problem in southeast Saskatchewan, Human and animal deaths linked to hydrogen sulphide emissions

2015 01 14: Sounds like Alberta (Again)! Utah energy boomtown turns on midwife who raised concerns over apparent spike in infant deaths: “Could the deaths be tied to the oil industry, the region’s economic powerhouse?”

2016 04 12: “I’m actually outraged.” With Alberta Court’s blessings, Energy giant CNRL derails full public inquiry into foreign workers’ deaths

2015 06 02: Toxic oil and gas industry vapors suspected in deaths of three Colorado oil and gas workers; Why blame nature or the victims?

2014 02 01: Fracking Injuries, deaths and dangers for workers and communities

2016 06 13: NEXEN BLAMES WORKERS for major explosion that killed two at tarsands SAGD steam injection site near Fort McMurray

2017 04 25: Nexen (Eaten by CNOOC Ltd.; Feast enabled by Steve Harper) asks Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo for $19.5M tax break due to Long Lake blast. Brilliant comment by Shane Shaugnessy: “Our company killed a couple employees and damaged some important equipment. Due to these events we would like the opportunity to do less to support the communties we harm and pollute while still draining as much wealth and intellectual property back to China.”

2015 08 09: If industry’s abandoned bitumen sites kill wildlife, what’s it doing to groundwater and humans?

2017 01 04: Happy Alberta-Oil-Patch-Get-Away-with-Murder New Year? After 10 years to investigate and release report, CNRL fined $10,000 – maximum allowed – following regulation violations that killed 2 workers, injured 5 others, 13 in total trapped by devastating tank collapse. All 29 charges against CNRL dropped. Alberta’s “No Duty of Care” energy “regulation” wins & kills, again.

***

Why doesn’t AER charge Encana for its crimes?

Does Encana get special treatment because Ex-Encana VP Gerard Protti is AER Chair?

***

Comment by Rob Schwartz to the charges: 

AER will make great ceremony in laying “charges” which the uninformed public and parroting press will interpret as being charged with a criminal offence thus creating the public illusion of being a tough regulator instead of an enabler.

The real truth is that the AER has approved both the process and design of the facility that caused these deaths.

Innovative sentencing will also be a public charade with a large fine levied to be invested right back into syncrude

Syncrude charged in deaths of 31 great blue herons at oilsands mine, Oilsands giant faces maximum penalty of $500,000 for incident two years ago by David Thurton, CBC News, Aug 03, 2017

The Alberta Energy Regulator has charged Syncrude Canada in the deaths of 31 great blue herons discovered at a pond at the Mildred Lake mine north of Fort McMurray two years ago.

The company is charged with failing to store a hazardous substance to ensure it does not come into contact or contaminate animals, according to a news release from the regulator. The charges were laid under the Environment Protection and Enhancement Act.

Syncrude spokesperson Will Gibson said the oilsands company is “truly saddened and deeply regrets” the death of the birds that occurred in an inactive part of the mine.

“Our goal is to prevent the deaths of birds and other wildlife as a result of our operations,” Gibson said. “We have already taken steps to address this after consulting with wildlife industry experts.” [the company was/is required to prevent wildlife deaths, not react after killing wildlife.]

Canons, strobe lights, radar

Gibson said Syncrude has made changes to its waterfowl protection plan, not just at tailings facilities after similar incidents, but also on other bodies of water. [Decades greedily too late. How many wildlife have been killed that the company has not disclosed?]

The changes include installing strobe lights, scarecrows, noise devices and a radar-based deterrence that activates propane-fired noise canons when birds approach.

There’s also a central bird-monitoring and control centre with year-round staffing, especially during known bird migration times.

“We know the public expects our industry to provide energy in a responsible way,” Gibson said. “We are committed to responsible development.” [Words Words Words. Meaningless words. The company killing wildlife speaks much louder than the company’s empty promises]

This incident has strengthened our resolve to make sure deterrent systems are everywhere they need to be on our sites.  3/5

Syncrude faces a maximum fine of $500,000. It is scheduled to appear in court in Fort McMurray on Sept. 27.

The incident was reported to the AER on Aug. 7, 2015.

Fine fair or fowl?

Environmentalists are praising the charges, but some say the fine still doesn’t fit the crime.

“How many times do incidents like this need to occur before we see stronger action from the government said Greenpeace spokesperson Mike Hudema. “That’s a fine Syncrude can pay-off in a couple of hours worth of profits.”

Cleo Desjarlais Reece, co-chair of the Keepers of the Athabasca Watershed Society, welcomed the charges.

“I am really happy,” Desjarlais Reece said. “We have great concerns about our wildlife, about our birds and our water.”​

Syncrude was fined $3 million when more than 1,600 ducks died after landing on a tailings pond in 2008.

In October 2010, more than 550 birds died or had to be killed when an early winter storm forced them to land on waste ponds belonging to Syncrude and Suncor.

In November 2015, 122 birds were killed after landing on three tailings ponds in the area, including one at Mildred Lake. [Emphasis added]

Syncrude charged in deaths of 31 great blue herons by Reid Southwick, August 3, 2017, Calgary Herald

Oilsands giant Syncrude Canada Ltd. has been charged under environmental rules after dozens of great blue herons were found dead near its mine north of Fort McMurray two years ago.

In August 2015, the consortium reported finding 30 of the large shorebirds at various stages of decomposition at its Mildred Lake oilsands facility, on top of another that was discovered two days earlier covered in oil before it was euthanized.

Syncrude didn’t have any deterrents at the inactive sump pond to spook wildlife when the herons were discovered, though it later installed fences, sound cannons and bird-scaring statues.

“We are truly saddened and deeply regret the deaths of these blue herons,” Syncrude spokesman Will Gibson said.

“This has strengthened our resolve to make sure that deterrent systems are everywhere they need to be on our sites.” [Too late Syncrude]

Alberta’s energy watchdog said Thursday it has charged Syncrude with one count under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act for failing to store a hazardous substance in a way that avoids contaminating animals.

If convicted, the consortium now controlled by Suncor Energy could face a financial penalty of up to $500,000. Its first court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 27.

[What plan has the AER got up it’s sleeve?  Will it accept Suncor paying a “donation” to a pro-industry synergy group, like Pembina Institute, in exchange for dropping the charges? Are these charges just for show because of the heat the Supreme Court of Canada is getting from media coverage and outrage at their super long add-on Trinity Western intervenor list?  Compare to the SCC not even granting leave to two landowner intervenors in Ernst vs AER.

Unfair Supreme Court of Canada?  Biased? Do churches share control of the court with the oil and gas industry? Did the AER decide to press charges against Syncrude to deflect from the hot and bothered legal attention the SCC was getting because of Trinity Western’s mega intervenor list and special extended hearing?]

“We must review the charges in detail before we decide how we will proceed,” Gibson said. [Plead guilty behind closed doors, make a donation, and the AER & court will allow Syncrude to publicly say it wasn’t their fault?]

Greenpeace said it welcomed the charge, but argued the province should increase fines and “begin to take action on the toxic waste water and tailings ponds that are growing by the minute.”

“A fine that can be paid off by a few hours’ profit doesn’t send much of a signal to the company or to the industry, and as long as these toxic ponds and lakes are around, these preventable deaths will continue to happen,” the group said in a statement.

The 31 herons did not die in a tailings pond, but their deaths were far from the only bird fatalities at the oilsands.

Syncrude was fined $3 million after more than 1,600 ducks died at one of its tailings ponds in 2008. Images of oil-soaked birds spread around the world and helped crystallize environmental opposition against Alberta’s oilsands.

Another 550 birds were destroyed [Why can’t the Herald say “killed?”] a couple years later when a storm forced them to land on waste ponds owned by Syncrude and Suncor.

In 2014, 122 birds died after landing in tailings ponds at three sites controlled by Syncrude, Suncor and Canadian Natural Resources. [Emphasis added]

Comments

Geoff Scott · Boss at Self-Employed
when is Kentucky Fried Chicken going to be charged for all the birds it kills

Geoffrey A Pounder

The industry’s giant toxic tailings lakes and smaller run-off ponds are like an ongoing oil spill.

Either the deterrents don’t work or they aren’t even installed and operational.

There are hundreds of thousands of bird landings annually in these lakes.

Most bird landings —and deaths — go unobserved, unreported, and uninvestigated. Especially at night.

Oilsands companies have no idea how many birds and other wildlife they’re killing and displacing.

So much for our “responsible” oilsands industry.

UPDATE: SYNCRUDE CANADA CHARGED WITH 2015 BLUE HERON DEATHS by Erica Fisher, August 3, 2017, mygrandprairienow

UPDATE: Greenpeace has reacted to the charges with a call for further action:

“We are glad to see charges finally being laid against Syncrude, a company with a history of bird deaths on their tar sands operations. Syncrude didn’t have the safety equipment in place to protect these birds and, despite repeated assurances, continues to rack up an alarming number of wildlife incidents. While we welcome the charges, the government needs to increase the penalties these companies face and begin to take action on the toxic waste water and tailings ponds that are growing by the minute. A fine that can be paid off by a few hours’ profit doesn’t send much of a signal to the company or to industry, and as long as these toxic ponds and lakes are around, these preventable deaths will continue to happen.”

Syncrude Canada has been charged after 31 blue herons were found dead at their Mildred Lake oilsands mine two summers ago. The birds were discovered on August 5th, 2015, and the incident was reported to the Alberta Energy Regulator two days later.

At the time, one bird was still living, but had to be euthanized. The other 30 were already dead in a run off pond that had bitumen mixed in with the rainwater. It was not a tailings pond.

The AER says Syncrude is charged with one count of failing to store a hazardous substance in a manner than ensure that it does not come into direct contact with, or contaminate, animals under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

Syncrude Canada Ltd. @SyncrudeCanada
Our goal is to prevent the deaths of wildlife as a result of our operations. We deeply regret the deaths of blue herons. #ymm #oilsands 1/5
3:40 PM – Aug 3, 2017

If convicted, the company could be fined up to $500,000. They’ll make their first court appearance on September 27th in Fort McMurray. Syncrude was previously fined $3 million when 1,600 ducks died after landing on a tailings pond at another facility in 2008.

Mildred Lake was also one of the facilities where 196 birds were killed after landing in three tailings ponds in November 2014. The AER found none of the three companies involved were responsible, as intense weather conditions forced the birds to land on the ponds in spite of the deterrents in place. [Emphasis added]

Syncrude Canada charged by Alberta Energy Regulator over deaths of 31 great blue herons by The Canadian Press, August 3, 2017, BNN

CALGARY — The Alberta Energy Regulator has charged Syncrude Canada in the deaths of 31 great blue herons two years ago at its Mildred Lake oil sands mine in northern Alberta.

The company is charged under the provincial Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act with failing to properly store a hazardous substance in a way that ensures it doesn’t come into direct contact with or contaminate animals.

Syncrude, which faces a penalty of up to $500,000 if convicted, is to appear in court on Sept. 27 in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Spokesman Will Gibson said Syncrude is reviewing the charge to determine its next step but has already made changes to better protect birds on site.

“This has strengthened our resolve to make sure that bird deterrent systems are everywhere they are needed on our site,” he said, adding Syncrude’s plan previously focused mainly on its tailings ponds, which store water contaminated with oil, chemicals and clay from its oil sands processes.

“Our waterfowl protection plan now addresses incidental bodies of water which includes areas such as sumps where the dead herons were found.” [Too late.]

He said he didn’t know what caused the death of the birds at the sump, which he described as an inactive dugout near a pump station.

Syncrude was previously fined $3 million for an incident in 2008 when more than 1,600 ducks died after landing on a tailings pond.

Two years later, more than 550 birds had to be killed when an early winter storm forced them to land on waste ponds belonging to Syncrude and Suncor Energy. [Emphasis added]

Syncrude charged after 31 great blue herons found dead near Fort McMurray in 2015 by Kirby Bourne with files from Caley Ramsay, Global News 3, 3017, 630CHED

Syncrude Canada Ltd. is facing one charge under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act after 31 great blue herons were found dead August 2015.

The birds were found at the company’s Mildred Lake oil sands mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta. The discovery was reported to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) on Aug. 7, 2015.

READ MORE: 30 blue herons found dead at Alberta oilsands site

“They were close to a sump, which is a low area where runoff fluids gather,” Bob Curran with the AER said at the time. “There was some bitumen there which impacted the one bird that they found this week and euthanized. The others were outside of that area so it’s unclear what the cause of death was.”

Syncrude has been charged with failing to store a hazardous substance in manner that it does not come into direct contact with, or contaminate, animals.

In a series of tweets sent Thursday afternoon, the company expressed its regret about the incident, but provided no further comment on the charges, saying it needed to “review the charges in detail.”

Syncrude Canada Ltd. @SyncrudeCanada
Our goal is to prevent the deaths of wildlife as a result of our operations. We deeply regret the deaths of blue herons. #ymm #oilsands 1/5
3:40 PM – Aug 3, 2017

Syncrude Canada Ltd. @SyncrudeCanada
Syncrude notified the regulators of the incident and cooperated fully with their investigations. #ymm #oilsands 2/5
3:41 PM – Aug 3, 2017

Syncrude Canada Ltd. @SyncrudeCanada
This incident has strengthened our resolve to make sure deterrent systems are everywhere they need to be on our sites. #ymm #oilsands 3/5
3:41 PM – Aug 3, 2017

Syncrude Canada Ltd. @SyncrudeCanada
We consulted experts to determine the changes we needed to make to help prevent a similar incident from occurring. #ymm #oilsands 4/5
3:42 PM – Aug 3, 2017

Syncrude Canada Ltd. @SyncrudeCanada
We must review the charges in detail before we decide how to proceed. #ymm #oilsands 5/5
3:43 PM – Aug 3, 2017

The company faces a fine of up to $500,000 if convicted.

The first court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 7, 2017 in Fort McMurray.

Greenpeace spokesperson Mike Hudema said in a statement the organization was happy to hear about the charge, but feels fines for these type of charges need to be higher.

“A fine that can be paid off by a few hours’ profit doesn’t send much of a signal to the company or to industry, and as long as these toxic ponds and lakes are around, these preventable deaths will continue to happen,” he wrote.

READ MORE: Environmental protection order issued to Syncrude after bird deaths at Alberta oilsands site

Syncrude, which operates one of the biggest oilsands sites north of Fort McMurray, was fined $3 million for the deaths of more than 1,600 ducks when they landed on its tailings pond in 2008.

In November 2014, about 30 birds died after landing on a tailings pond at Syncrude’s Mildred Lake facility. In total, 122 waterfowl died after landing on three sites, including the CNRL Horizon facility and Suncor Energy’s tailings pond.

Syncrude charged in deaths of 31 great blue herons by The Canadian Press, Aug. 03, 2017, The Globe and Mail

Comments closed

The Alberta Energy Regulator has charged Syncrude Canada in the deaths of 31 great blue herons two years ago at its Mildred Lake oilsands mine in northern Alberta.

The company is charged under the provincial Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act with failing to properly store a hazardous substance in a way that ensures it doesn’t come into direct contact with or contaminate animals.

Syncrude, which faces a penalty of up to $500,000 if convicted, is to appear in court on Sept. 27 in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Spokesman Will Gibson said Syncrude is reviewing the charge to determine its next step but has already made changes to better protect birds on site.

“This has strengthened our resolve to make sure that bird deterrent systems are everywhere they are needed on our site,” he said, adding Syncrude’s plan previously focused mainly on its tailings ponds, which store water contaminated with oil, chemicals and clay from its oilsands processes.

“Our waterfowl protection plan now addresses incidental bodies of water which includes areas such as sumps where the dead herons were found.”

He said he didn’t know what caused the death of the birds at the sump, which he described as an inactive dugout near a pump station.

Syncrude was previously fined $3-million for an incident in 2008 when more than 1,600 ducks died after landing on a tailings pond.

Two years later, more than 550 birds had to be killed when an early winter storm forced them to land on waste ponds belonging to Syncrude and Suncor Energy.

Syncrude charged with blue heron deaths Press Release by AER, August 3, 2017

For immediate release

Calgary, Alberta (Aug 03, 2017)… The AER has charged Syncrude Canada Ltd. for the deaths of 31 great blue herons found at a sump at the company’s Mildred Lake oil sands mine north of Fort McMurray in August 2015.

The company has been charged with one count under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act for failing to store a hazardous substance in a manner that ensures that it does not come into direct contact with, or contaminate, animals. If convicted, Syncrude could face a financial penalty of up to $500 000.

The incident was reported to the AER on August 7, 2015.

The first court appearance is scheduled for September 27, 2017, in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The Alberta Energy Regulator ensures the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon resources over their entire life cycle. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.

FOR BROADCAST USE
The AER has charged Syncrude Canada Ltd. for the deaths of 31 great blue herons found at a sump at the company’s Mildred Lake oil sands mine north of Fort McMurray in August 2015. If convicted, Syncrude could face a financial penalty of up to $500 000.

– 30 –

For more information, please contact:

Monica Hermary, AER Public Affairs
Phone: 403-860-2377
E-mail: email hidden; JavaScript is required
Media line: 1-855-474-6356
NR2017-13

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