CBC Radio: oil sands sustainability (transcript)

MediaCBC Radio: oil sands sustainability

Transcribed by April Scott

Female Announcer: The entire economy of Western Canada is on fire. And, not just the oil and gas sector. That's according the President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. He was speaking to the Parliamentary Committee; which is looking into whether the rapid development of the oil sands, is sustainable. Susan Bell reports.

Suan Bell: Liberal Alan Tonks asked the question that cut to the heart of what the Natural Resources Committee to trying to answer.

Alan Tonks: Is the pace and the acceleration of development in the oil sands sustainable? From a social and economic. And environmental perspective?

Susan: Dan Vinalovich, with the environmental group, PENBENA; says, the simple answer is no. And, not just for the environment.

Dan: The Regional Health Authority, is running about half capacity. In terms of the number total medical staff it would require, to service the population of Fort MacMurray.

Susan: But, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, says people are unfairly blaming the oil sands. Pierre Alvarez says that makes up one quarter of all the investment in the oil sector. And, he says the West, as a whole; is on fire, economically.

Pierre Alvarez: We've got a period we're in right now, in Western Canada - where, yes it's oil and gas. But, it's pot ash, it's uranium. It's the pine beetle. And, the injection it's going to require, from the cuts there. It's municipal infrastructure. It's electrical infrastructure.

Susan: And, Alvarez says the cost of doing any business in the West, has climbed so high too; that it will actually drag down growth in 2007.

Pierre Alvarez: Companies are looking at strategies to stretch things out. How do they hang on to labor for longer? How do you design things, a little differently?

Susan: The Parliamentary Committee, plans to travel to Fort MacMurray, later this month. To see, first hand; whether the development of the oil sands is sustainable. Susan Bell, CBC News, Ottawa.

MediaCBC Radio: oil sands sustainability