Myth vs. Fact: Tailing Ponds are a Threat to Local Wildlife

MYTH: Tailing ponds created during the oil sands mining process are a threat to local wildlife and have yet to be fully reclaimed despite promises made by the oil companies.

FACT: Alberta law requires full reclamation of every mining site. All companies developing the oil sands must establish a reclamation plan that spans the life of the project. Thus far, over 67 square kilometers have been reclaimed.[1]

Alberta Environment reports that industry is using various techniques to minimize disturbance to local wildlife, including using sound, effigies and other deterrence tools to keep birds safely away from tailing ponds.[2] Such techniques are an essential part of the Government of Alberta’s approval requirements for operations. As the industry increases the use of in situ drilling technology – which does not require disposal of tailings – impacts on land and wildlife will be significantly reduced.[3]

[1] Government of Alberta, Business: Facts and Statistics

[2] Government of Alberta, Oil Sands: Wildlife and Biodiversity, March 2011

[3] CAPP, Protecting Wildlife, 2012


  1. […] can’t even be touched by production. Any land that is disturbed by production processes must be reclaimed by law. Thus far, over 67 sq. km have been […]

  2. […] used for oil sands development. Before development can even begin, energy producers are required by law to submit a land reclamation plan and continually reclaim land throughout the life of a project. […]

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