Despite taking into account emissions from industry-related activities, researchers from the University of Toronto found estimates in environmental impact statements submitted to regulators were insufficient to explain existing contamination levels in northern Alberta.The short story is that industry-reported numbers did not include evaporation pollution from tailings ponds. That omission is significant because the regulator relies on industry for its estimates/regulation of pollution.
This monumental screw up has been in place for 30+ years of holding waste water in tailings ponds.
It's my impression that the industry sees tailings ponds -- like death and taxes -- as inevitable and permanent, but I think they may have got the cost-benefit wrong.
Now, it's up to the regulator to decide if that's in fact true -- assuming the regulator is in charge.
(More, in a detailed post, next week)