A Facebook tussle over oilsands and polluted lakes

A quality dust-up about oil sands and environment can be found on Tom Fletcher's blog who had a Facebook spat with environmentalist Tzeporah Berman, former co-director of climate  for Greenpeace.

The legislative reporter got unfriended by Berman after the two argued over news reports that over-played—according to Fletcher—the extent of cancer-causing compounds in lakes close to oil sands operations.

A recent Canadian study found contamination of lakes with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which can cause cancer with long-term exposure. The study was picked up by major media, including the New York Times.

Fletcher says the report was over-sated and ". . . Burnaby Lake has more contamination than a lake near the Athabasca oilsands".

I pointed this out on Berman’s Facebook page, and a lively discussion ensued. A friend of hers began throwing out statistics that simply don’t add up, and Berman weighed in with similar claims. One of her favourite tricks is to drop out the pollution and CO2 impact of the fuel use, which accounts for nearly 70 per cent of the total “well to wheels” emissions. This makes oilsands extraction seem much worse than it actually is.

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