The Stream, February 4: Canada’s Oil Sands Development In Doubt

The Global Rundown

The future of the water-intensive, polluting development of oil sands in Alberta is in question amid a global slump in oil prices. Iraq plans to repair and maintain the Mosul Dam. The world’s largest offshore wind farm is slated for the coast of the United Kingdom, while a watchdog group called on the UK’s water utilities to help customers who have trouble paying their bills. Farming sturgeon for caviar is taking off in southern Japan. The Flint water crisis is not only the subject of a U.S. Congressional inquiry, but could also derail a proposed federal energy law.

“I never thought this could happen in America, [in a state] surrounded by fresh water of the Great Lakes.” –U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence, of Michigan, during a Congressional oversight hearing Wednesday investigating the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint. Other lawmakers from Michigan threatened to derail a new energy bill if provisions for aid to Flint were not included. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

1.2 gigawatts Expected capacity of the Hornsea wind project to be built off the United Kingdom’s Yorkshire coast, making it the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Guardian

30 percent Increase, from 2015 levels, Japan’s Miyazaki prefecture plans to make in its fishery production. Supplies of mountain water in the region are supporting a growing sturgeon industry, which produces caviar. Bloomberg

Science, Studies, And Reports

One in eight water customers in England and Wales are having difficulty paying their water bills, according to research by the Consumer Council for Water, a UK watchdog organization based in Birmingham. The organization urged water companies to do more to make customers aware of assistance programs that could help them afford water service. Independent

On The Radar

A sharp drop in oil prices over the past 18 months has left the future of Canada’s oil sands production in doubt. The water-intensive development of the oil sands in Alberta has left more than 180 square kilometers of toxic tailings ponds. Yale Environment 360

Iraq announced that it is hiring an Italian company to rehabilitate and maintain the Mosul Dam. The dam has long been subject to structural deficiencies, and U.S. officials have repeatedly warned that it could collapse and devastate surrounding cities. Agence France-Presse

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