Not a while ago, Canada was a pioneer for environmental conversationalists, tackling sensitive issues like acid rain, depleting ozone layer and biodiversity. But that doesn’t seem to be the case today.
Hundreds of environmental and activist websites backed by U.S.-based groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council are protesting against the Canadian government’s measures to tweak the environmental law in favor of oil companies. The activist groups say that the government’s measure if approved in the Parliament, will allow irreversible exploitation of the Alberta’s tar sands, the third-largest oil reserves in the world. The bill will give the Conservatives a free hand to cut back laws that protect fish habitats, take away veto powers from the federal energy regulator, survey resource development projects and give the government a final say on approving all major pipelines.
Nearly 500 organizations including Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund Canada and hundreds of others have blackened out their websites for 24-hours as a part of the “Black Out, Speak Out” demonstration to protest against the government diktat.
While the government wants to project Canada as an energy superpower through the measure, activists and opposition revolt the bill saying it will destroy Canada’s environment and result in regression of free speech.
Organizations particularly oppose two planned pipelines – TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL which would export tar sands to Texas and Enbridge Inc’s Northern Gateway which would travel from Alberta to the Pacific Coast. Extracting oil from tar sands is strenuous and requires more energy than crude oil.
Meanwhile, the government is aggressively promoting its idea that the bill will create more jobs, boost the economy without destroying the environment.
Image Credit: Creative Commons / Jungbim