Canadian minister: technological advancements will make oil sands cleaner

The Canadian federal government has reasserted its commitment to developing the country's vast oil sands resources while emphasizing how technological innovations will make extraction more sustainable.

Speaking on behalf of the minister of Natural Resources on Wednesday, Michelle Rempel, minister of state, highlighted the government's actions in making crude production more environmentally responsible. The speech was delivered at Alberta's Oil Sands and Heavy Oil Technologies conference.

"The oil sands are one of the world's biggest innovation projects and our government is working hard to make important scientific contributions to help reduce potential environmental impacts from the development of this key resource," said Rempel.

The minister praised Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) as a "powerful demonstration of the collective will to develop the oil sands sustainably."

COSIA members – all crude bitumen producers – collaborate to improve environmental performance by focusing on technological improvements.

Rempel also noted Canada's oil sands monitoring program and the country's 'polluter pays' legislation.

"By continuing to ensure responsible resource development and protection of the environment, we will help ensure Canadians across the country benefit from the economic contribution of the oil sands," said Rempel.

Meanwhile, Mother Jones reports that an oil sands leak in Alberta has been continuing for over two months.

"Nine weeks ago, an oil leak started at a tar sands extraction operation in Cold Lake, Alberta, and it's showing no signs of stopping," Mother Jones writes.

Last week the Toronto Star interviewed an anonymous government scientist who says that "nobody really understands how to stop it from leaking."