NAFTA Study Confirms Canadian Tar Sands Pollution; Should Trigger Enforcement

WASHINGTON – A new review by the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) concluded in an assessment released this week cites “scientifically valid evidence” that toxic pollution from tailing ponds operated by tar sands oil operations are fouling Canadian water resources. This finding came in response to a petition lodged with the treaty organization from Daniel T’Seleie of the K’ahsho Got’ine Dene First Nation, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), and Environmental Defence Canada over a lack of enforcement of Canada’s Fisheries Act.

Following is a reaction from Anthony Swift, Canada Program Director with NRDC:

“This report makes clear, again, that Canada’s federal government has been asleep at the wheel as it relates to the environmental damage the tar sands industry is inflicting on Indigenous Peoples and the environment. 

“Canada’s federal government should prosecute tar sands polluters under the Fisheries Act, period. The argument we made in the petition that a failure to enforce the law against tar sands polluters has been validated by the CEC in this factual record. Now it is time to act.”

More information on the process in this blog posted when the petition was filed (more detail and evaluation to come):


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC


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