Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Those Ducks Totally Had it Coming

So, Syncrude (killer of 1600 ducks on an unprotected tailings pond in Northern Alberta) has directed their lawyer to seek the court to have all the charges against them dismissed. Their reasoning: That the crown hasn't made its case. They claim, and I swear to God I'm not making this up, that the statute they were charged under - "hazardous substances out into the environment where it comes into contact with animals in the natural environment and does them damage" - doesn't apply in this case. They go on to say that because the tailings ponds are intact, the tailings didn't come into contact with wildlife.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, "that's crazy, everybody except Ed Stelmach) saw the pictures of ducks on the tailings pond, drowning under the weight of toxic sludge. There were 1600 of the little buggers.Clearly, the ducks had been exposed to the toxins in the tailings pond." You might think that, if you are a rational, intelligent person. However, that would be your common sense talking. If you are a self-delusional moron, you'd believe Syncrude and their lawyers when they say that the toxins in the pond didn't come into contact with the wildlife... wait for it... the ducks, by virtue of landing on the pond, came into contact with the toxins. It's the ducks' fault.

The analogue is telling a rape victim that she was asking for it.

Syncrude maintains that because they have a license to operate the tailings pond, and that because the tailings ponds have not been breached, nor have the ponds leaked, that they are not responsible for the fate of 1600 living, wild animals that came into contact with the toxins in the ponds. The company was supposed to have installed air cannons that would scare birds away from the ponds. They didn't have them set out. Syncrude execs claim that a snowstorm prevented their people from installing the cannons in time.

Apparently the cold, freezing, hellish depths of winter in Northern Alberta aren't too cold to stop the mining and processing of bitumen but they are too cold to have a couple of guys go out and put up air cannons. First, the idea that having some air cannons on a pond is a reasonable means of protecting wildlife from some incredibly nasty chemicals, is ridiculous. Second, the level of environmental regulation that these companies have to meet is absurdly lax. Third, they can't even seem to meet the most basic of the few regulations they are mandated to follow.

Perhaps all the First Nations people living downstream, in communities that experience cancer rates far above the national average, should not expect to have clean water. After all, it's their fault for interacting with the toxins, not Syncrude's fault for producing the toxins in the first place.

Damn environment. Always with the sexiness and cheap come-on's. Those trampy ducks were probably asking for it.

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