Reject Teck: Canada shouldn't be digging a massive new tar sands mine
Dear Minister Wilkinson & Minister Freeland,
I am writing to urge you to reject Teck Resources' proposed Frontier Oilsands Mine. If built, the project would be the largest tar sands surface mine ever.
We are in a climate emergency. This past election, two-thirds of Canadians voted for parties that were committed to increased action on the climate crisis. New research found that emissions from existing oil and gas fields would take us over our 1.5 degree target, even before adding new fossil fuel projects. If this government is committed to building a forward-looking country, this mine cannot go forward.
- The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Frontier Mine are fundamentally inconsistent with the steps Canada will need to take to meet its climate targets, including your government's new commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050. If constructed, the Frontier mine would lock in 6 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year until 2067. That's equivalent to the emissions from all of British Columbia's private vehicles.
- Frontier Mine infringes on treaty rights and the inherent rights of First Nations. The Joint Review Panel (JRP) that did the initial assessment found that the mine would likely result in significant adverse effects on the asserted rights, use of land and resources, and culture of local Indigenous groups. The proposed conditions do not address community concerns that were raised at public hearings and do not effectively mitigate known adverse environmental impacts. Communities downstream of the project are already experiencing degraded ability to use their traditional lands and territories as a result of tar sands extraction over the last 60 years.
- The project will cause significant adverse and irreversible ecological impacts. The proposed mine is close to Wood Buffalo National Park, which is already being harmed due to tar sands development further upstream on the Athabasca River. The mine would further damage already stressed old-growth boreal forest and wetland habitat for endangered species, including the last remaining free roaming buffalo herd and the critically endangered Whooping Crane.
- The Frontier Mine is economically risky, and would likely leave taxpayers on the hook for reclamation costs. There is ample evidence that oil prices are unlikely to be sustained at a high enough price to cover break even costs for a project this massive throughout its lifecycle - let alone profitable enough to deliver $3 billion needed for land reclamation.
- Teck has a poor track record when it comes to the environmental impacts of its projects. Systemic pollution problems at Teck's facilities in British Columbia do not inspire confidence in this company's capacity to manage the significant environmental risks posed by a massive tar sands mining operation.
Spending $20 billion on a project that will deepen the biodiversity, climate and cultural crises arising from the old fossil fuel economy will continue to keep desperately needed financial resources and human ingenuity away from the new systems that will solve these crises.
In the midst of a climate emergency, approving this mine is unacceptable. I'm counting on you to be brave and choose the climate, environment, and Indigenous rights over the special interests of oil and gas industry executives.