Oil and gas industry is a major economic driver for any country. For every single job created by Alberta’s energy development, approximately one indirect job becomes available in Canada. Development of the Canadian oil industry will make purchases of $117 billion in services and supplies over the next 25 years from other provinces within Canada. However, these benefits do not come without cost (Mufson and Eilperin, 2014). A report in 2008 showed that 30.6 percent of the Canadian population from the western region contributed 37.5 percent of the country’s GDP (Mufson and Eilperin, 2014). This modest performance has enabled Canada grow economically. This immense economic success of the area results from the oil and gas industry. Forecast for the next 25 years indicate that the oil and gas industry will contribute $3.5 billion to Canada’s GDP (Mufson and Eilperin, 2014).
In many occasions, the government and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry alter pictures and skew statistics in an attempt to conceal injustices committed by the business. A report sponsored by the Alberta government presented modified images of the island. The aim of the report involved assessing the risk of cancer because of exposure to arsenic (Timoney, 2008). A review of the report indicated that it had used questionable statistical methods and sediments as well as undermining fish consumption of the residents of Fort Chipewyan (Timoney, 2008). Unfortunately, making the economy the priority over the environment alters the environment and ultimately affects human health. Oil and gas industry pose many threats to the environment and health.
Despite these economic benefits, the western region accounts for over half over Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. This raises the fundamental challenge of introducing mechanisms to curb greenhouse gas emissions. According to Houston (2013), the plans of building a pipeline to travel through the western province pose the feat of an oil spill, and this has galvanized opposition to the pipeline. A documentary by Kevin Timoney also showed that the people living around Athabasca River Delta are highly exposed to higher levels of contaminants compared to those upstream. These environmental impacts can compromise the future developments and industry participants have embarked on various programs aimed at environmental conservation. Some studies have reported increased risk of cancer due to lifetime exposure to arsenic. These environmental and health impacts will result into need for resources to carry out conservation and ensure health and safety of the Canadian population.
In conclusion, oil and gas industry has both positive and negative impacts to the environment and health. The Alberta government should ensure that they make the environmental conservation their priority as this will help protect the health of citizens. There is also need for a mechanism to reduce oil spills, as well as initiatives, to conserve the environment. The environmental impacts of oil and gas industry in Canada have undermined environmental conservation efforts over the past years. The oil companies should devise mechanisms aimed at averting such issues in the future. Interest groups should also highlight the plight of the affected populations to ensure that oil and gas companies clear their mess. The companies should consider cleaning all water bodies in the region and offer medical services to the affected population. Alternatively, the government should consider moving people living downstream or ensure a safe source of drinking water. This way, the government would reduce cancer cases in Canada.
Houston, S. (2013). Take national pipeline perspective Opinion: Northern Gateway will benefit every region of Canada as our oil gains access to world markets. The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved from http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/oped/Take+national+pipeline+perspective/7889855/story.html
Mufson, S. and Eilperin, J. (2014). The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers.