More than a million barrels of crude flow out of Alberta’s oil-sands plants every day. Environmentally, it’s a disaster zone. There’s no turning off the tap, but improvements in five areas could limit the staggering scale of the ecological damage. By Curtis Gillespie with photography by Garth Lenz “HARD TO BELIEVE, HEY?” says Scott Kinnee, the helicopter pilot flying me over the Athabasca oil sands north of Fort McMurray, Alta. “You don’t really get a sense of the scale of things unless you come up top.” Up top being 500 metres above ground level, high enough to see 70 to 80 kilometres in any direction; that is, until the sky closes over as we near the dozens upon dozens of emissions towers and flare stacks of the Suncor, Syncrude and Albian Sands plants. The limpid winter sunshine we’d had at the airport hangar 30 kilometres to the south is gone, and the sun is now a dull white bulb wobbling unsteadily behind a motionless sooty haze. “Yeah,” says Kinnee, nodding as I remark upon the sun’s enervation. “These plants are so huge, they basically create their own weather system.”
Our name emphasizes a broader interest and a longer-term approach to thinking about socio-economic impacts on the community.
Through our association, resource developers partner with local, provincial or federal government agencies, communities, and other industries to address mutual issues. OSCA structure encourages a more strategic use of funds and activities through a more highly co-ordinated approach across operations and geographic regions to address issues.
We know that partnerships are the best way to facilitate local capacity building, mobilize resources more quickly, leverage investment and co-ordinate multiple activities to respond to complex issues.
OSCA identifies issues from the perspective of those potentially impacted by projects; predicts and anticipates change; and develops strategies to proactively respond to the consequences of development.