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Thread: Repost: Alberta PR stunt sparks decade of oilsands opposition

  1. #1
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    Default Repost: Alberta PR stunt sparks decade of oilsands opposition

    Reposting this since the other thread has been hijacked by an off-topic discussion

    How an Alberta PR stunt backfired in the U.S., sparking a decade of oilsands opposition


    http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/na...297/story.html

    OTTAWA – Standing two storeys tall, the 180-tonne yellow dump truck parked on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., commanded attention all around Capitol Hill.With tires four metres high, the Caterpillar 777F hauler — similar to the monster machines used in the oilsands — was the main attraction for Alberta’s exhibit at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in July 2006.

    The behemoth machine symbolized the province’s growing energy bounty: a secure supplier of crude to the United States, boasting some of the planet’s largest oil reserves.

    But in a global game of Show and Tell, the move would also backfire.


    During that two-week stretch, the truck unexpectedly became a powerful symbol and prime target for a U.S. environmental movement searching for a focal point for its next campaign.


    It would set off 10 years of trouble for the oilsands, triggering a new level of environmental scrutiny over developing the resource that is profoundly felt in Canada to this day.


    “It was a pivotal moment,” says Susan Casey-Lefkowitz with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Washington.

    “When you bring a tarsands dump truck to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., it was like bringing the tarsands into our backyard. For the environmental groups in D.C., it was a moment of it sort of being, ‘They’ve brought this fight to us.’ ”

    On the other side of the debate, Greg Stringham, a vice-president with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, journeyed to the U.S. capital and saw the giant truck draw crowds.

    It soon became clear to him the event caught the attention of U.S. environmental groups as well.

    “I honestly believe that it was the trigger point for people to recognize what was going on up here — and see it as an opportunity to pit opposition against us,” says Stringham, who retired from the industry’s main lobby group this year.

    “Before that, it was essentially invisible, out of country, and that’s really where the major opposition started.”

    The battle waged against the oilsands since then put Alberta and Canada on a path leading to many of the issues vexing the country today over balancing energy development and environmental protection.

    Lingering concerns over energy infrastructure have stalled or torpedoed major pipeline projects at home and in the U.S., while Canada is trying to shed its international reputation as an environmental laggard.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    more from the article

    Former Alberta energy minister Murray Smith, who came up with the idea of taking the truck to Washington, is adamant the venture paid dividends.“Alberta runs on oil and on money and you could not get … oilsands production up until you got money attracted into it for investment purposes,” says Smith, Alberta’s trade envoy in Washington from 2005 until 2007.

    “I wanted the money here — and it came.”

    However, former diplomat Colin Robertson, in charge of advocacy at the Canadian Embassy in Washington at the time, says the extra attention had negative consequences.

    “The environmental community was looking around for a target in terms of Big Oil, and we put ourselves into the headlights, by design in a sense,” he says.

    Once environmental activists had the oilsands in their sights, they didn’t let up, highlighting its emissions, destruction of the boreal forest, and the potential impact on fresh water and nearby First Nation communities.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  3. #3

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    So could the effect now be reversed through a new campaign? Such as one highlighting Alberta's vast natural untouched environment/wilderness.

    Overlay Alberta's wilderness over that of the Washington DC area to see how they compare on population densities, 'acres' of preserved land, developed or farmed and logged land, etc.

    Seems they failed by bringing the tarsands fight them. May be time to bring the protected land base fight to them as well.


    12.4% of our land base is protected. Acre for acre how would that compare to their surrounding territory?


    THE THREAT

    Although protected areas cover 12.4% of Alberta’s land base, only 4.2% of our land is protected as provincial protected areas and the remaining 8.2% is in long established national parks. The percentage of protected provincial land in Alberta is lower than most other provinces in Canada.

    As part of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada has committed to protecting at least 17% of lands and inland waters by 2020 in order to conserve biodiversity. This target is far above Alberta’s protected areas targets. In many of our natural ecological subregions, less than two per cent of the lands and waters are protected despite the fact that southern Alberta contains 80 per cent of the province’s species of many of at risk. It is up to both federal and provincial governments to contribute to Canada's protected areas systems.

    http://cpaws-southernalberta.org/cam...rotected-areas
    Put Alberta on top of Maryland as a starter.

    http://overlapmaps.com/index.php
    Last edited by KC; 27-07-2016 at 12:46 AM.

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    Top_Dawg can only imagine the hyperbolic outrage if this happened in Alberta's oil sands.

    https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2...xic-water.html

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    ^or if millions died in windmills, hold on, that does happen...

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