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Shell oil plans irk Canadian tribes

May 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM   |   Comments

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, May 23 (UPI) -- Plans by Shell to expand operations in oil fields in the Canadian province of Alberta are threatening the environment, a tribal group said.

Leaders from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation presented a report to Shell shareholders at The Hague, Netherlands, highlighting concerns about the environmental impacts of oil development in Alberta.

Eriel Deranger, a spokeswoman for the group, said Shell's plans for the region are harming traditional tribal lands, including sensitive watersheds in the area.

"Shell has failed to address our concerns in Canada's tar sands by not meeting environmental standards, past agreements and refusing to address their impacts to our constitutionally protected treaty rights," she said in a statement.

The tribal group says Shell accounts for about 20 percent of oil operations in Alberta. It aims to double oil production to 600,000 barrels per day through operations in the Athabasca Delta. Shell's operations include open pit mining for tar sands, a heavy form of crude oil.

The tribal group said it is concerned about Shell's operations in Canada given its legacy of oil spills in Nigeria.

The U.N. Environment Program last year said it would likely take 30 years to clean up oil spilled in the Niger Delta region.

Shell had no public comment available. In April, it announced it purchased 1,820 acres of land in northern Alberta near its oil sands operations as part of a conservation effort.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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