The oil industry is its own worst enemy. Max Fawcett writes:
For as long as I’ve lived in Alberta and covered the oil and gas industry — more than a decade now — I’ve been hearing about its supposedly high ethical standard. This is the heart of Ezra Levant’s “ethical oil” argument that has become an incredibly popular mantra among people working in the oil and gas industry and those outside it who just don’t want to confront the reality of Alberta’s role in climate change.
As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, this is an inherently — and inescapably — flawed argument. It compares Canada to countries like Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia, a far lower standard than most Canadians hold themselves to. It ignores the existence of Norway, a major oil producer with far lower greenhouse gas emissions and far higher taxes on production. And it pretends the oil and gas industry is in some way responsible for Canada’s progressive attitude towards LGBTQ rights, its treatment of women and minorities, and its comparatively robust regulatory environment.
But the biggest problem is that the industry constantly undermines its argument with its own behaviour. The latest example of this, and one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time, is the leak coming from an Imperial Oil tailings pond — one that’s leached millions of litres of toxic water into the ground. This is water that has things like arsenic and dissolved metals in it, and it’s been leaking since last May. But the public only just learned about it, and worse, so did communities directly downstream of the leak, like the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. The Alberta government also failed to notify its peers in the Northwest Territories, which is further downstream and would stand to be affected by any release of toxic chemicals.
Unfortunately, the government of Alberta is on Oil's side:
It’s more proof — as if more was even needed — of why the United Conservative Party government’s efforts to chase down the industry’s supposed enemies in the environmental community are so futile. The tens of millions of public dollars it spent on the War Room only resulted in a bunch of bad press and an embarrassing fight with a cartoon Bigfoot movie, while the public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns served up a big fat nothing burger.
Hypocrisy rules the roost.