Health horrors of oilsands described by anti-pipeline U.S. senators

Horror stories about the Alberta oilsands’ impact on human health are being shared in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — Horror stories about the Alberta oilsands’ impact on human health are being shared in Washington, D.C.

A pair of anti-Keystone XL senators invited witnesses Wednesday to provide anecdotes about the effect on people near sites where the oil is extracted, transported and refined.

They hope these human-interest stories might influence the Obama administration as it prepares its final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.

One of the speakers at the event was John O’Connor, an Alberta doctor.

He first went public in 2006 with concerns about what he considered to be elevated cancer rates around Fort Chipewyan, Alta.

Many of the 1,200 residents believe their proximity to oilsands development and major forestry mills in Fort McMurray have led to contamination of water and wildlife and a higher rate of cancer and other illnesses.

The event organizer said she would send a letter to her longtime colleague in the Senate Democratic caucus, current Secretary of State John Kerry, asking him to consider human health as he prepares a recommendation to President Barack Obama.

“I have shown you, or at least I have told you, how health miseries follow the tar sands,” said Barbara Boxer, the chair of the Senate environment committee, at a news conference.

“Health miseries follow tar sands from extraction, to transport, to refining, to waste disposal.”

Boxer said the health aspect has been overlooked in the discussion and was disappointingly absent in the State Department’s recent environmental report, which predicted no significant effect on carbon pollution whether or not the pipeline is built.

It’s far from certain her appeals will sway the issue at this point. The president has apparently told state governors, at a closed-door meeting this week, that he plans to make a final decision on Keystone within a couple of months.

When asked what leverage she had at her disposal to influence the administration, Boxer replied that her leverage was “the truth.”

She said she would hold hearings, and hold more press conferences if need be, to spread the word about the oilsands’ impact on air and water quality.

Just Posted

Red Deer teacher contracts condemning same-sex relationships ‘not acceptable’

Eggen says Red Deer Catholic Schools assured him they no longer have employees sign the form

Second-degree murder trial on hold until January

Jury not back until Jan. 7 for 2015 stabbing death trial while lawyers argue evidence issues

Hospitalizations jump in Red Deer due to opioid poisonings

Small city hospitals impacted more by opioid crisis

Stray dog spotted in one Red Deer neighbourhood, could be missing for 1 year

Red Deerians asked not to feed this german shepard

Witnesses describe scene of fatal 2016 collision

Delburne man on trial for manslaughter after being accused of causing collision

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Trump comments upend U.S. approach to Huawei, trade talks

WASHINGTON — The United States and China have taken pains this week… Continue reading

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Dumba scores twice, Wild rout Canadiens 7-1

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Reeling and banged up, the Minnesota Wild were… Continue reading

Coach Hunter wants up-tempo Team Canada as world junior squad hits ice

COLWOOD, B.C. — Team Canada coach Tim Hunter says the team that… Continue reading

Study finds female-led films outperform male ones

NEW YORK — A study organized by Time’s Up, the organization formed… Continue reading

Price Is Right contestant wins winter trip to Winnipeg, Churchill

WINNIPEG — Who wants to visit Winnipeg in the dead of winter?… Continue reading

CBC Gem streaming service to launch exclusive content, partners with Wattpad

TORONTO — The CBC has launched a new streaming service featuring live… Continue reading

‘Part of the solution:’ Alberta seeks proposals to build new refinery

EDMONTON — Alberta is looking for someone to build a new oil… Continue reading

Most Read