Injecting some facts into logging practices in Alberta

As Alberta’s economy tries to lurch back into gear due to pressures from a socialist provincial government coupled with low oil prices, the hysteric eco-left has decided to target logging in hopes of stifling thousands more jobs and billions in revenues.

In court, Greenpeace admitted that they spread outright admitted that they spread falsehoods in their fervent opposition to logging.

The eco-left will never hesitate in lying to justify their causes. They have embraced environmentalism as a religion and feel justified in doing anything to promote their dogma.

To counter some of the BS being spread by environmentalists on the logging being proposed in the Highwood watershed, I did a video tour of the area to be logged and covered some of the areas where logging has already happened.

Facts are to environmentalists as light is to vampires.

Shortsighted opposition to new pipelines is damaging our environment

Today while checking on some things in the field on a program in Pennsylvania I came across a stark reminder of the consequences of successful opposition to pretty much all new conventional energy infrastructure in North America. While tracking one large and degrading gas pipeline through the bush, I encountered another pipeline that had failed and was leaking natural gas at a pretty high rate as can be seen and heard in the video I took below.

Pennsylvania’s oil rush began in the 1860s and much of the infrastructure out here is simply ancient. Fracturing technology has brought a new boom to these regions as fields that had been previously considered to be depleted are being brought back to life with new production of both oil and gas in shale formations. Unfortunately, while the existing pipeline infrastructure is old and failing it is damned near impossible to get any large new energy distribution projects approved as myopic and self-serving environmentalists will immediately hinder the process through lobbying and legal challenges. What this foolishness has led to is an increase in environmental damage as well as creating a very dangerous working environment for energy and agricultural workers in areas where pipelines are failing.

It is absolutely undeniable that modern pipelines are far and away the most safe, economical and environmentally friendly way to transport oil and gas. Modern pipeline failures occur on occasion and most often these are due to human error in excavation without proper utility location having been done beforehand. A pipeline can’t be faulted for leaking when a fool hits it with a backhoe shovel. With the literally billions of barrels and cubic feet of energy products being moved all over the world the amount that actually gets lost due to leaks is nearly microscopic in scope and getting smaller all the time as our technology improves.

Demand is not going away for oil and gas any time soon. Environmentalists can harp on all they like about wind, solar and geothermal power but the reality is that these forms of energy are not even remotely close to replacing carbon based energy at this time and we still need to provide oil and gas to people. We are doing this with pipelines and these pipelines are becoming old.

Like it or not, populations are growing and usage of fossil fuels is increasing along with that. Due to myopic opposition, new pipelines are not being built as they should and producers are being forced to either use old pipelines that really should be replaced or are even transporting product through trains and trucks which burn fossil fuels in transporting product and are much more likely to have an accident leading to spills than pipelines will ever be.

If we really care about the environment and about safety we need to expedite new pipeline projects rather than hinder them. We have to be realistic rather than idealistic. New and ever improving pipeline construction and monitoring technology means nothing if we are still forced to use pipelines that are 40, 50 or even 100 years old. Lets build new pipelines so we can shut down these old ones before more product leaks into the environment or people possibly get killed in a large rupture.

Until the flux-capacitor or dilithium crystals leave the world of science fiction and become a reality, we will need fossil fuels in our lives. It’s time to set aside the hysteria spread by multinational corporations such as Greenpeace and take a realistic look at what needs to be done to move oil and gas safely.

Just as we will never see a highway with 0 fatalities we will never be able to move oil and gas with a 100% risk free means. We can come pretty damn close though if we could just put the new pipes in the ground. Until then we unfortunately will only see more spills and accidents.

I wish the environmentalist set would look at the real offenders.

The small Metis community of Conklin Alberta made headlines around the continent a couple years ago when twelve black bears had to be shot at their local garbage dump. Outrage was expressed by many towards Sustainable Resources and the officers who had to do the cull. The officers can’t be blamed in this circumstance. When bears have been spoiled by humans, there is no rehabilitation and relocation for them. Black bears will travel hundreds of kilometers to find new human created sources of food once spoiled and they will be increasingly dangerous and irritable once that trip is completed.

The bottom line is that a ready food source was made available to the bears for years due to irresponsible waste management in an area highly populated with bears. To be honest, I don’t know who’s responsibility the garbage dump is but the past (and current) management of the facility is completely unacceptable and will be leading to more bear shootings soon. The municipality is Wood Buffalo and the village is Conklin. I imagine that among those two entities one is responsible for waste management.

Below is a picture of black bears eating at the Conklin dump a couple years ago. Following that picture are pictures that I took of the “improved” Conklin garbage facility a few days ago.

Clearly international embarrassment has not been enough of a motivator for this community to solve it’s garbage problem.

 Bears at Conklin dump pre-2009


Open unprotected bins at Conklin dump January 2012

 Conklin dump

Below are pictures of the garbage I found that animals had dragged from the dumpsters into the nearby trees.

bushjunkb bushjunka

 The bush surrounding the dump area is nothing short of disgusting. Garbage is strewn for acres as entire bags have clearly been pulled from the open dumpsters and dragged into the trees by animals for consumption. Ravens then spread the smaller pieces even wider.

There indeed is no longer an open landfill at the Conklin dump. They have put up a partial fence and a warning sign about bears along with the open, unsupervised bins packed with domestic waste.


The sign goes into detail on the small print about how people should not approach or feed bears. The fence stretches about 30 meters to either side of the gate and stops. It is meant to keep people out of the dump area after hours. The fence is not meant as any form of animal deterrent. There really has been no deterrent measures put in place at the dump.

The Conklin dump is providing a virtual buffet for animals and it is doubtless that more animals will become spoiled and will die as a result. Foxes, coyotes and wolves are being harmed by this mess too.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in Banff Alberta. I remember well as a kid in the late seventies and early eighties tourists being directed to hit certain parts of town on garbage day to see black bears and people were directed to the dump out by Lake Minnewanka to see grizzly bears. Part of the summer routine was often to clean up the garbage out back before school as the coyotes and bears had gotten into it.

Banff got it’s wakeup call in the early 80s when a grizzly terrorized the town for weeks with five people mauled and one killed in a series of attacks before the bear was located and destroyed. I hated that period as a kid as we loved playing in the bush but understandably our parents kept us all well within the townsite until the bear had been killed.

After that tragic happening, Banff transformed quickly into a town that did not feed the bears. Home collection of garbage ended as bear proof bins were placed around town. Open landfills ended with transfer stations where domestic garbage was taken to a bear proofed site for disposal.

 If a town of 5000 (with 15,000 tourists) in the mountains can responsibly manage their garbage in the 1980s, why the hell can’t an oil-rich community of a few hundred do the same in 2012??

It only takes a short trip through google to see how many communities in areas with bears have learned to keep bears from their dumps in cost effective ways. There are many solutions out there if a community wants to seek them. Conklin apparently is not interested in seeking a solution unfortunately.

Now where is the outcry from our environmental crusaders on this? Well they are busy yelping at the big bad oil industry whether justifiably or not.

I am currently in a camp in the Conklin area. The energy industry is very careful to mitigate wildlife impact in every possible way while working. Garbage containment is actually one of our easiest areas to deal with. Our industry rarely gets credit for it’s responsible and ethical environmental practices unfortunately.

Throughout our camp we have bear proof garbage cans for spot disposal of small amounts of garbage. These are the exact same bins that are present in Banff.


Larger volumes of waste go to a compactor to be trucked out to a proper landfill.


 There are about 750 people in my camp. There is not so much as a french fry left out for wildlife to get at. Is it too much to ask a town of a few hundred to do the same?

Where is the outcry on towns and their shoddy waste practices? It is lost among those loudly and wrongly targeting the oilfield. Rest assured if we (oilfield) behaved like the town of Conklin in our practices, our operation would be quickly shut down and we would be heavily fined.

I strongly suggest that people concerned about wild animal welfare contact provincial authorities and demand that they crack down on towns with irresponsible waste practices. Put down your signs protesting the oilsands for a minute and try to make some realistic and worthwhile change come about. We sure heard loudly from groups when some ducks died.

Lets hope my next series of pictures does not involve shots of dead black bears.

Dogs are evil!!!!!

 Let’s see now; you have done everything you thought possible to be “green”. You have slogged your way back on foot from the organic market with overpriced, wormy and shrivelled, fair-trade produce to feed your vegan diet. You suffer frostbite during these trips as the organic hemp-wear outfit you have allowed yourself the luxury of is not quite as insulating as you would like and the global warming that you were confident would arrive has not appeared for some reason. At least you will have the smug satisfaction of being green as you apply organic, locally-grown bandages to that peeling skin, you have not frivolously used a carbon belching, combustion-driven machine to get to the trough.

 You shiver at night while trying to read the dog-eared, second hand book that you borrowed as you refuse to turn the heat past 10 degrees. Again that hemp-quilt seems a little inadequate. Your eyes are strained as you try to define the print under the weak light of a $50 special green LED light as conventional illumination is indeed the work of Satan. Hey, even if you go blind it is OK; you have been wearing those little round John Lennon style glasses for effect for years now. Finally you will be able to justify a prescription for them.

 You dedicate an hour a day in summer to hand weeding your lawn as you fear the allegations of environmental effects of herbicide. Sure no study has proven such ill-effects but hey, we must be green right? Keeping up is difficult as the nearby city property is a sea of yellow due to Pincott and Farrell having been successful in banning city use of such chemicals. Your day is rather crunched though as what used to be a 10 minute drive to work is now a one-hour, hair-raising bicycle ride or even longer walk as you have eschewed the evils of motorized transport.

 You grow a herb-garden in the back yard in a futile attempt to add flavor to your rather bland and lifeless vegan diet of unpronouncable beanish things. You have fertilized the garden with a mixture of regular compost mixed with your own feces in hopes of saving our waterways. You recycle every conceivable thing despite reports that we really don’t actually have efficient means to recycle them. Who cares about reality? You need a distraction from the self-loathing that you endure in having been born a natural enemy of the earth. A distraction from the itch and burn in the nether regions due to the use of single-ply, recycled, organic toilet paper (only one sheet per poop as Sheryl Crow told you) is nice as well.

 You do it all. On your weekends you attend any rally opposing pretty much everything that you can find. You don’t quite understand what globalism is but dammit you are strongly opposed to it. Your compatriots are smashing windows at these rallies, assaulting police officers and wearing designer shoes that were made in third-world nations by child labor. That’s OK, you are confident that their facial piercings must be organic at least. It does not seem to make sense to you but those who lead you tell you this is worthwhile in saving dear Gaea. You do what the herd does as you revel in your perception of individuality.

 You have allowed yourself to indulge in one pleasure in life. It does feel wrong but you can’t help yourself. With 23 hours per day dedicated to self-sacrifice in the name of mother-earth you need one hour of pleasure.

 Yes, you have adopted a dog. With days filled with guilt and self-hatred, the unquestioning love that is displayed in your furry friend’s eyes give a break from stress and restraint that is unparalleled. The dog does not get on your case for having eaten meat in your youth. The dog does not harp on you for having eaten that Nestle chocolate bar in a moment of weakness in 2002. The dog does not even complain about the meat-locker style cold that you live within. The dog is always overjoyed to see you as you experience joy in seeing it. The dog never complains of the scent you emit due to a refusal to use detergent-laden soap or deodorants that may offend the environmentally sensitive. The dog does not want to talk about the plight of the albino, Equadorian sea-slug nor the endangered booger-lichen of the Northern Andes.

 This little indulgence can’t hurt can it?


Sadly and unsurprisingly, some eco-driven scientists in New Zealand have determined that owning a dog is actually twice as bad as driving an SUV. The dog consumes food that could feed children in the third-world and his farts are eating our ozone. Cats are evil as well by the way and these nuts have even found that owning goldfish is the equivalent of using two portable phones.

 Your dog ownership has completely countered the sacrifice and misery that you have endured in your adult life. Those fawning brown eyes were simply there to distract you from the reality that your pooch was put on this earth (like yourself) simply to ruin it. You collapse on the floor in despair. Sadly, no neighbors hear the collapse as your malnourished vegan body creates nary a flop. Gluten-free, vegan, organic, fluoride-free tears become free-range as they flow from your sunken-eyes.

 Ohhh woe is you. How many acres of Brazilian rainforest are you now directly responsible for the destruction of? How many hairs have fallen from the arses of how many polar bears due you your selfishness? Will a new hole in the ozone be named for you? Why didn’t you just enjoy a little bacon now and then? Questions. Self-doubt is now mixed with your self-loathing. Your high-horse has vanished. You are no better than those neighbors with the sports car that you sneered at. Perhaps you are worse. You should have known better.

Exposed for what He is, your supposed best friend approaches and offers you what humans have offered His species for a century when it is found (by somebodies definition) that you no longer serve a beneficial purpose to the planet.

 All I can say is that I hope a degree of reality has kicked in by now you trendy, eco-kook.

 Oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!