Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

April 1, 2009

Company admits 1,600 ducks died in oily waste

A Canadian company is under fire this week for under-reporting duck deaths at an oil sands plant in northern Alberta.

A Syncrude executive admitted 1,606 duck carcasses were collected from the toxic oily waters – three times more than was reported following the incident last year. The ponds contain waste from the process of separating oil from sand.

The birds died in April 2008 after becoming coated with the residual oil floating on the pond’s surface.

The company was accused of failing to prevent the birds from landing near the oily waters. The mining giant is scheduled to appear next next month in a Fort McMurray court on charges that carry up to $800,000 in combined fines. The charges also could include jail time for individuals deemed directly responsible.

Syncrude says it’s working to improve waterfowl hazing protocols in an effort to discourage waterfowl from tailing ponds areas: Details

Tar sand extraction is an important Canadian industry but environmentalists have criticized the process as having a terrible affect on birds. See: Tar Sands Mining Ravages Birds

News report:

CNN: Canada oil firm confirms 1,600 bird deaths

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