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Banned for decades, releasing oilsands tailings water is now on the horizon – CBC

Dec 06, 2021

Some Indigenous groups say they are stuck choosing between environmentally risky options

The federal government has begun developing regulations to allow oilsands operators in northern Alberta to begin releasing treated tailings water back into the environment, something that’s been prohibited for decades.

Currently, companies must store any water used to extract oil during the mining process because it becomes toxic. The massive above-ground lakes are known as tailings ponds, which are harmful to wildlife and have resulted in the death of birds who land on the water, on multiple occasions.

For years, local Indigenous groups have raised concerns about contamination from development, and how tailings ponds could further pollute their land and drinking water.

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