Total Upgrader Hearing, Tailings Defined, & Underground Coal Fires

This week’s show includes an Ecobabble segment defining “tailings,” a piece on fires in underground coal mines and how difficult it is to snuff them out, and the first part in our coverage of the ongoing hearing about French oil giant Total’s application to build an upgrader in Alberta and the media circus that accompanies it.

A Current Construction Project in Alberta's Industrial Heartland, Similar to the Proposed Total Upgrader

Environmental News Headlines

Oil spill update

US appeals court opens doors to new drilling

Abandoned oil wells in Gulf of Mexico

BP aims to fix leak by 27 July


Federal politicians cancel oilsands pollution probe


Climategate’ scientists honest

Scientists cleared of manipulating data on global warming

Solar Plane

Solar Impulse completes first solar-powered flight

Solar plane lands after 26-hour flight

Underground Coal Fires

When the very ground beneath your feet catches fire, how can you extinguish the blaze?

This week, Brett Tegart looks at underground coal fires- how they start, how they affect the environment and how they can be snuffed- or if they can.

Total Upgrader Hearing

A couple weeks back, Terra Informa brought you a story about a group of concerned citizens on a tour through Alberta’s former agricultural heartland, an area now known as the industrial heartland. The region is home to numerous petrochemical facilities and residents are upset about the vast swaths of prime agricultural land that have been lost to industry, the pollution that it creates, and its impact on their way of life. To top things off, the Alberta Cancer board has found elevated rates of cancer in the region.

Well, many of the people who went on that tour were shocked at what they saw. They decided to pack an upcoming government hearing into a proposal by French oil giant Total to build another bitumen upgrader in the heartland. Terra Informa correspondent Marcus Peterson was there for the two-week long hearing process, including the dramatics of its first day

Cancer alley: Citizens call attention to tar sands impacts north of the city

Extended Look Into the Total Upgrader


We often cover stories about mining here on Terra Informa and you may have heard us mention tailings. But what exactly are they? Here’s Rebekah with another installment in our recurring series, Eco Babble, where we cut through the jargon and explain just what’s meant by some the terms that pop up in environmental news.

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