Letter: Would same negligence persist if pollutants flowed through Edmonton?
To the editor:
In his Jan. 23rd column: Old Man Take A Look At Your Facts- Young Fundraising Tour, Tom Fletcher tries to downplay the toxic effects of the oilsands near Fort McMurray and to discredit Neil Young for alerting the people of Canada to those effects.
Fletcher roams far and wide in his critique—from admitting that toxins are on the rise in the area but “found in much higher concentrations around large cities where fuel is consumed,” to stating that Young could have referred to “closely packed pumpjacks reaching to the horizon” near Bakersfield where hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is taking place and to the shale oil train explosion in North Dakota.
I hope that means that Fletcher is against the dangers of fracking and of the dangers of transporting shale oil by train but you wouldn’t know it by the way he downplays the increased rate of cancer in the people of Fort Chipewyan.
The Dec. 16th Edmonton Journal has an article about John Chadi, recently elected councillor in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo of which Fort Chipewyan is a part. In late October Chadi was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a very rare cancer of the bile duct which occurs in one of every 100,000 to 200,000 people. This was the third confirmed case in Fort Chipewyan in a decade with several other suspected cases having occurred. The 2011 census gave a population of 847.
Fish have been a staple in the diet of the Fort Chipewyan people. However in the Athabasca River fish have been found with cysts, lesions, crooked spines and bulging eyes. Does Fletcher think that if the Athabasca River, with all its pollutants, flowed south through Edmonton, instead of north to Fort Chipewyan there would be the same negligence that has been shown to the people of Fort Chipewyan?