Acid rain from oilsands having less impact than expected on boreal forest, studies find


Emissions from beneficent oilsands projects may be having less impact on the boreal forest than envisioned, according to a series of studies made public last week.

The enquiries are based on data collected from jack pine stands in northeast Alberta concluded 20 years by the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association. The non-profit organize is made up of representation from industry, government agencies, First Political entity and Métis communities, and environmental organizations.

The association is funded by the federal and rude governments’ Oil Sands Monitoring Program.

“It’s been a long-standing concern in the locality that air emissions could be having an effect in the broader regional forests,” signified adviser Ken Foster, an independent environmental consultant who has been involved with the outline since its inception in 1997.

The primary concern is acidification of the forests by the accumulation of sulphur and nitrogen emanated from the mines and upgrading plants as nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen monoxide and sulphur dioxide, Aid said at a June 18 presentation hosted by WBEA at Keyano College in Fort McMurray.

A widely-publicized look at predicted emissions from Alberta oilsands could eventually acidify an close the size of Germany.

Acid rain from oilsands having less impact than expected on boreal forest, studies find
Researchers with Wood Buffalo Environmental Link answer questions at a presentation June 18. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

But the four researchers who recorded their studies June 18 said they found no modify of acidification on the growth of trees or other plants despite finding principal levels of nitrogen and sulphur.

WBEA sampled air, soil, plants and lichens in jack pine beliefs within a 200-kilometre radius of Fort McMurray every six years.

Ended the last year, researchers began analyzing and writing up the data.

Some of those happens have been published in Science of the Total Environment, an international peer-reviewed review covering environmental science. Other results are still being peer-reviewed.

As an alternative of wide-spread acidification, researchers found that the nitric oxides and sulphur dioxides were being counterbalanced by calcium and strontium present in “fugitive dust” kicked up from petroleum coke hoards and road dust.

The neutralized nitrogen and sulphur then acted as fertilizer, Succour said.

The researchers recorded more plants and more species of conceals in the testing areas, indicating the nitrogen and sulphur were acting as a fertilizer.

Acid rain from oilsands having less impact than expected on boreal forest, studies find
Ken Cultivate, an adviser for WBEA, speaks to the audience at Keyano College in Fort McMurray. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

The decrees could change the modelling for the acidification of the boreal forest by industrial vigour in the oilsands region, Foster said.

“Monitoring and the modelling are not aligned plainly,” he said. “If the model is only estimating one parameter, but not its counter-balancing parameter, that is booming to overestimate acidification.”

Matthew Landis, an advisor on the project and senior digging environmental health scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the writing-rooms will allow industry to pinpoint specific activities leading to the leave of chemicals.

Industry can use the data to “go back and make intelligent choices of how they covet to spend their money in terms of [lowering] emissions,” Landis state.

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