Right now, the biggest company in the Alberta tar sands is trying to rewrite the rules of how big oil is going to have to deal with toxic tailings waste.
Suncor is trying to get the Alberta government to give it until 2085 to clean up billions of litres of ghastly mess.
But it gets worse. Suncor's strategy to "clean up" literally 525 billion litres of poisonous tailings sludge involves dumping it into a hole and capping it with water. That's it. This half-baked plan is nothing more than Suncor’s thinly veiled excuse to avoid cleaning up the after-party of a 50-year fossil fuel extraction binge fest.
We have zero guarantees that corporations like Suncor will even be around in three-quarters of a century -- let alone have the resources or motivation to clean their messes up.
Tell Suncor to stop playing games and clean up its mess now.
There are now more than 1.2 trillion litres of tar sands tailings fluids sitting in open ponds and leaching toxic chemicals into the environment of northern Alberta. They remain the biggest logistical and environmental challenge of bitumen mining.
Indigenous Peoples, environmentalists, and residents have always feared that the long-term plan is to simply delay cleaning them up until every last drop of carbon has been sucked out of the earth. Then, the tar sands corporations can leave the mess for communities and taxpayers to deal with. And if Suncor gets its way, this is exactly what will happen.
What's even more baffling is that Suncor's mine is set to close in 2032, so essentially the company is asking us to believe it is going to stick around for over 50 years after operations have ended to clean up what it destroyed. Albertans and Canadians have absolutely no guarantee Suncor is going to finish the job. This is a risk we simply cannot afford to take.
The Alberta government is currently reviewing Suncor's flawed tailings strategy -- and that means we don't have long to act.
Tell Suncor it needs to take responsibility and clean up its toxic tailings mess.
If there’s one company in the tar sands that knows what SumOfUs members like you are capable of, it’s Suncor. You fought hard when it tried to lobby to drain the Athabasca River dry. Tens of thousands of you hit back and earned SumOfUs a seat at the negotiating table. Thanks to SumOfUs members like you, we filed a shareholder resolution that received the biggest vote share of its kind in Canadian history — and eventually Suncor agreed to start disclosing its lobbying practices.
Against all odds, you've held the biggest corporation in the tar sands to account — and we need to do it again. It’s not just Suncor that’s angling to avoid taking responsibility for its tailings waste. If Suncor gets away with putting off clean-up, every other tar sands company will, too.
Let’s stand up to the tar sands. Call on Suncor to clean up its tailings mess now.