Environmental Assessment Act in the Alberta Oil Sands

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The supreme court of Canada has agreed that “The growth of modern societies has shown serious problems that can result from anarchic development and use of land, in particular those problems concerning public health and the environment.1” How can we maintain economic growth without major environmental consequences? In 1992, the Canadian Federal government enacted the Environmental Impact Assessment Act as a planning tool in attempts to identify and alleviate the environmental impact of new developments. Environmental impact assessment (EIA) is the process of identifying and reducing the environmental effects of a proposed project before it begins. The (EIA) is a step by step process that begins with the determination if an environmental assessment (EA) is needed, environmental impact statement guidelines, environmental impact statement, the (EA) or review panel report and finally the (EA) decision2. The Alberta oil sands, or more technically the Alberta bituminous sands, are the largest and most developed bituminous sands and are the third largest crude oil reserve in the world. Described as “Canada’s greatest buried energy treasure”, continued development of this area will result in stable, reliable energy that will promote vast economic growth3. The Alberta oil sands provide jobs, intensify provincial growth, and generate royalties and taxes to help fund government programs5. Although these oil sands provide an array of economic benefits it has inherited the name “dirty oil” due to the mining and refining practices of bitumen, the substance transformed into crude oil. It is much more viscous than conventional crude oil and is too thick to be pumped through a pipeline. Instead, bitumen is mined in open pits much like coal and i... ... middle of paper ... ...w and Practice 20.3 (2010): 175-211. ProQuest. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. 5. McLeod-Kilmurray, Heather, and Gavin Smith . "Unsustainable Development in Canada: Environmental Assessment, Cost-Benefit Analysis, and Environmental Justice in the Tar Sands." JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND PRACTICE 21 (2010): 65-105. Web. 31 Mar. 2014 8. "Oil Sands Consultation." Legislative Assembly of Alberta. MultiStakeholder Committee, 30 Nov. 2006. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. 4. Song, Lisa. "Visit Our News Center for Expert Coverage of the Exxon Oil Spill in Arkansas." A Dilbit Primer: How It's Different from Conventional Oil. InsideClimate, 26 June 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. 1. Southcote, Brooke and Fitzgibbon, John. An Introduction to Environmental Law and Planning. University of Guelph (2010) 249-271. Print. 3. "What Is Oil Sands?" Alberta Energy:. Government of Alberta, n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

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