Monday, July 16, 2007

A picture of addiction

The reality is probably no worse than most other boom towns, but somehow the drug abuse in this Alberta Boomtown on a bender seems to speak of a larger madness:
Many of the thousands of workers who live in barrack-like accommodation at nearby mines and construction sites come to [Fort McMurray] at weekends, to drink a beer or ten, brawl, and buy sex and drugs. “This town is awash in cocaine,” says one long-time resident. Marijuana, crack and crystal meth are also widely used. Drug abuse in the northern oil patch is more than four times the provincial average.
Where best to find leverage to turn Canada away from the destructive path likely to come with tar sands? Perhaps, as noted in Building on sand, from progressive legislators responding to informed consumers:
California and 11 other American states are planning to adopt pollution laws that would ban the sale of petrol from emissions-intensive sources.
But can this be the answer?:
Shell and other big investors in the oil sands hope to meet such requirements by siphoning off emissions from their mines and storing them underground—although the technology to do so is still in its infancy.

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