Syncrude weighs defence

Syncrude Canada may use a constitutional challenge to fight environmental charges laid after roughly 1,600 ducks died last year in the toxic sludge of a lake-sized oilsands tailings pond.

Syncrude Canada may use a constitutional challenge to fight environmental charges laid after roughly 1,600 ducks died last year in the toxic sludge of a lake-sized oilsands tailings pond.

But a spokesman for the oilsands giant says that’s simply one option being considered as the company weighs its defence against federal and provincial allegations.

Syncrude was scheduled to appear in provincial court Wednesday in Fort McMurray, but the case was moved to a location near Edmonton where more courtroom space was available.

The company did not enter a plea and the case was adjourned until mid-September.

Pictures and video of the dead and dying ducks became an international embarrassment for Alberta at the same time the province was trying to counter claims that the oilsands are a blight on the environment.

Syncrude apologized in a national advertisement, explaining that noise-makers used to scare birds away from the tailings pond had not yet been deployed because of a spring snowstorm.

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