Lie #1: Neil Young says Fort McMurray is like Hiroshima
“There’s no way to describe it [the oil sands], so I described it as Hiroshima, which was basically pretty mellow compared to what’s going on out there.” - Neil Young (Source)
The truth: ”After Neil Young notoriously compared the oilsands in Fort McMurray to Hiroshima, many criticized the rock and roll legend’s comments as hyperbolic and insensitive to victims of the atom bomb. Now they’re using Twitter to promote their view of Fort McMurray, using the hashtag #myhiroshima.” – (Source)
Lie #2: Neil Young says oilsands mines are not reclaimed afterwards.
“The problem is the reclamation part (of the oilsands) there is no reclamation.” - Neil Young (Source)
The Truth: The map to the right shows that, while the oil sands underlie a 142,200 square km area in north and eastern Alberta, the surface mining area is limited to a 4,800 square km region near Fort McMurray – 767 square km of which has been disturbed by oil sands mining (~0.2 per cent of Alberta’s boreal forest)
- About 77m square km is under active reclamation.
- Industry has planted more than 12 million tree seedlings towards reclamation efforts.
- 80 per cent of the oil sands are accessible by in situ methods only (bitumen is separated from the sand underground and pumped to the surface).
- In situ’s land disturbance is 10 to 15 per cent of a similar sized mining operation and produces no tailings ponds.”
Learn more from this source, the Alberta Government’s Oil Sands resource, here.
Lie #3: Neil Young says the oilsands are causing a cancer epidemic.
“People are sick. People are dying of cancer because of this.” - Neil Young (Source)
The Truth: ”Dr. John O’Connor found himself in hot water after he claimed in 2003 and 2004 that residents of Fort Chipewyan had unusually high rates of blood, colon, bile-duct and liver cancer. The province did a statistical analysis of all cancer cases reported in Fort Chipewyan and found no evidence of elevated cancer rates in the community compared to the rest of the Northern Lights Health Region or all of Alberta. In 2007, Health Canada physicians laid four complaints of professional misconduct against O’Connor with the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons, including blocking access to files, billing irregularities, engendering a sense of mistrust in government in Fort Chipewyan, and causing “undue alarm” among residents of the community. The charges could have resulted in O’Connor’s licence being temporarily suspended or possibly permanently withdrawn.” (Source)
Lie #4: Neil Young says Canadian oil is why Beijing is so polluted.
“People don’t understand this oil is not for Canada,” Young said. “A couple of months ago, Beijing had 30 times the World Health Organization’s approved level of pollutants and dangerous substances in the air — 30 times that — and we’re sending them oil.” - Neil Young (Source)
The Truth: “To a reasonable approximation, Canada’s oil is used in two places – the U.S. and here at home. Even within the U.S., we can be fairly specific about where it goes. In the first four months of 2013 (the latest data posted by the National Energy Board), Canadian net exports and domestic consumption were a combined 3 million barrels per day. Of that 3 million barrels per day, 1 million barrels per day were consumed domestically, but it should be no surprise to anyone that we’re a net exporter of oil. Our exports in the first part of 2013 averaged 2.6 million barrels per day. 75 per cent of these exports moved to the U.S. Mid-west and North-east, 17 per cent went to the U.S. West Coast and the Rocky Mountain states, 5 per cent went to the U.S. Gulf Coast, and the remaining 3 per cent went elsewhere, some of it even to China. [...] So, no, Mr. Young, that oil isn’t all going to China.” - Andrew Leach, University of Alberta Professor (Source)
Lie #5: Neil Young says Fort McMurray stinks like fuel.
“The fuel’s all over, the fumes everywhere – you can smell it when you get to town.” - Neil Young (Source)
The Truth: For millennia, naturally-occurring bitumen has oozed out of the earth and rivers — Indian tribes used it to waterproof their canoes, and the first European explorers noted the oilsands and the scent they emitted. That’s got nothing to do with Fort McMurray, or even the oilsands that are many miles away from the city.
Furthermore, there isn’t much mystery about the air quality around Fort McMurray’s oilsands region. That’s because data from measurements around the region are streamed onto the web continuously, for everyone to see at www.wbea.org. And, the air quality there is far better than L.A. and San Francisco in California.
Lie #6: Neil Young says the oilsands violate Indian treaties.
“The fact is, the policy of constantly expanding this disaster zone that is Alberta’s boreal forests would be something that would cause a broken treaty, which would cause social media, would cause bloodshed, that would cause a lot of things to happen. [...] If the treaties are broken, all hell will break loose and blood will be on modern Canada’s hands. I can’t go into a bunch of detail.” - Neil Young (Source)
The truth: Treaty No. 8. made June 21, 1899 ceded the land and all sovereign rights to Canada. And in return, the 1,100 band members, most of whom live off the reserve: get millions of dollars from Ottawa.