This week we have a special feature lined up for you. Terra informa correspondents Andy Read and David Kaczan head into the field to investigate the on-going conflict between farmers and the petrochemical industry in a community near Peace River, Alberta. Along with Myles Curry, they explore this issue as an example of the challenge inherent in balancing the economic benefits of industrial development against its social and environmental costs.
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Investigating Pollution in Peace River
A small community of farmers just north of the town of Peace River, in a locale called three creeks, have been complaining about chemical smells that drift over their properties. Preliminary analysis of the ambient air quality has detected cancer causing compounds such as Benzene, Tolulene and Xylene amongst the odours. Quantities are small and reportedly below the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives, but the locals are anxious, and in some cases, getting angry.
But what we found in Peace River was a prime example of a challenge that so many communities face all across this country, and particularly so in the resource rich western provinces. Industrial development brings jobs, government revenues and shareholder profits. But sometimes there are downsides, and ordinary Canadians find themselves burdened with painful social and environmental costs.
This week on Terra Informa, we explore a darker side of resource development. We took our microphones to oil wells, farmers fields and folk’s living rooms. We heard from people on both sides of the argument. We didn’t discover the mysterious source of the chemical odours, but that wasn`t our goal. What we wanted was to document the constant challenge in balancing industrial development, and the economic benefits it brings, with the need to protect our health and our environments.
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