Alberta’s Oil Sands and the Rights of First Nations Peoples to Environmental Health

Authors: Lori Lambert, PhD, DS

Disciplines: Environmental Studies, Geology, Health

Themes: Activism, Climate Change, Economic Development, Energy, Environmental Justice, Intergovernmental Relations, International Indigenous, Natural Resources

This case examines health and environmental issues of Alberta’s Cree First Nations and the rights of the Province of Alberta and lease-holders to develop the oil sands to extract petroleum. Although there are many environmental issues associated with the process of extracting the bitumen from the oil tar sands such as climate change, destruction of the boreal forest, and contamination of wetlands and muskegs, this case focuses on the tailings ponds and the environmental health issues that they are causing.