Pembina Institute publishes report on the untold story of Alberta's oil sands

The Pembina Institute today released Oil Sands Fever: The Environmental Implications of Canada's Oil Sands Rush. According to the report's main author, Dan Woynillowicz, "The story of Canada's rapid development of the oil sands has only been partially told. What's been missing from all the discussion and reporting is a comprehensive look at the environmental consequences of this development."

The boreal forest in northeastern Alberta has been home to some of the most intense industrial activity that has ever taken place on earth. The rush to develop the oil sands and feed the demand for transportation fuels is not unlike the gold rush fever of the 19th century.

"Such development comes at a great cost to the boreal forest, the water and the air," says Chris Severson-Baker, a co-author of the report. "We need strong environmental management in place to ensure that the development of this non-renewable resource does not leave a legacy of environmental degradation."

As Canada takes action to meet its Kyoto obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the oil sands industry must be required to make a meaningful contribution. "The government's ongoing promotion of rapid development of the oil sands stands in stark contradiction to its international obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," says Woynillowicz.

The report sets out some of the Institute's key recommendations to move Canada towards more responsible development and use of the oil sands while ensuring that the global climate and regional environment are protected. Along with the report, the Institute has also produced a video and slideshow on the oil sands. Visit to view them. provides information to citizens and media who want to learn more about the connections between development of the oil sands and the environmental impacts.

The Pembina Institute is an independent, not-for-profit environmental policy research and education organization with offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Drayton Valley, Alberta.

The report can be downloaded from


For more information contact:

Dan Woynillowicz, Senior Policy Analyst
403.269.3344 Ext. 107

Chris Severson-Baker, Director, Energy Watch Program
403.269.3344 Ext. 101

Dave Dodge, Director, Communications