Oil Company's Environmental Record Focus of Cross-Country Action
VANCOUVER, Nov. 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Growing concern over Suncor's environmental agenda led to powerful public displays across the country today, with Canadians from Vancouver to Montreal expressing anger and frustration over Suncor's efforts to block minimal environmental protections for Alberta's Athabasca watershed.
Pop-up actions at Petro-Canada gas stations in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal each drew dozens of concerned Canadians to deliver a petition signed by almost 50,000 Canadians and raise awareness of the oil company's environmental record and lobbying efforts. Suncor is the parent company of Petro-Canada.
"Almost 50,000 Canadians are tired of Suncor's greenwash," said Emma Pullman, Senior Canadian Campaigner with the citizens' group SumOfUs.org. "If Suncor is fighting so hard against basic water-taking rules, what will it do against regulations with real teeth?"
The pop-up actions followed on built on a demonstration last week in Calgary, where SumOfUs members, joined by Jesse Cardinal from Keepers of the Athabasca and Leslie Cardinal, member the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, visited Suncor's headquarters and delivered the petition calling on Suncor to stop its behind-the-scenes lobbying and support better water protections.
Jesse Cardinal from the Keepers of the Athabasca voiced support for the actions, stating "Suncor discharges polluted water directly into the Athabasca. The Athabasca watershed supports habitat for many fish and wildlife species, provides drinking water for tens of thousands of Canadians and is essential to the culture and livelihoods of local First Nations communities."
Suncor's environmental record already includes industrial spills and violations of regulations on tailings (oil mining waste), and it has not supported new rules that would prohibit releasing polluted water directly into the Athabasca. The Athabasca watershed supports habitat for many fish and wildlife species, provides drinking water for tens of thousands of Canadians and is essential to the culture and livelihoods of local First Nations communities.
Over the past year, Suncor has been quietly lobbying for exemptions to basic measures to protect the Athabasca watershed and communities downstream. The draft rules would prevent Suncor from taking water from the river for oil sands extraction during periods considered "catastrophically low-flow," which could damage and destroy portions of the watershed permanently. The company's oil sands expansion plans show that it will only be taking more water in the future.
Alberta water backgrounder: Water Backgrounder
For the French version of this release and to view photos from the rallies, visit http://sumofus.org/press/
SumOfUs.org is a growing global movement of over 5 million consumers, workers and shareholders speaking with one voice to counterbalance the growing power of large corporations.
For further information: Media Contacts: Emma Pullman, SumOfUs Senior Canadian Campaigner, 778-887-6776; Jesse Cardinal, Keepers of the Athabasca, 780-404-5053