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Title: Landscapes of Perception: Reclaiming the Athabasca Oil Sands and the Sydney Tar Ponds
Author(s): Dance, Anne T.
Supervisor(s): Mills, Catherine
Oram, Richard
Keywords: Oil Sands
Sydney Tar Ponds
Contaminated Sites
Environmental Justice
Canadian Environmental Policy
Landscape History
Environmental History
Tar Sands
Coke Ovens
Cape Breton
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This interdisciplinary project offers new insights into the reclamation history of two of the most controversial and contaminated sites in Canadian history: the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens and the Athabasca oil sands. It argues that Canada’s natural resource-dependent economy, combined with jurisdictional uncertainty, created a hesitant, fragmentary site cleanup regime, one that left room for different ideas about landscapes to shape and even distort reclamation’s goals and processes. In the absence of substantive reclamation standards and legislation, researchers struggled to accommodate the unique challenges of the oil sands during the 1960s and 1970s. Ambitious goals for reclamation faltered, and even the most successful examples of oil sands reclamation differed significantly from the pre-extraction environment; reclamation was not restoration. Planners envisioned transforming northeastern Alberta into a managed wilderness and recreation nirvana, but few of these plans were realised. The Sydney tar ponds experience suggests that truly successful reclamation cannot exist unless past injustices are fully acknowledged, reparations made, and a more complete narrative of contamination and reclamation constructed through open deliberation. Reclamation, after all, does not repair history; nor can it erase the past. Effective oil sands reclamation, then, requires a reconsideration of the site’s past and an acknowledgement of the perpetuated vulnerabilities and injustices wrought by development and reclamation.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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File Description SizeFormat 
0TableofContents.pdfTable of Contents403.11 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
1ChapterOneIntroduction.pdfChapter One: Introduction390.75 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
2ChapterTwoPolicy.pdfChapter Two: The Policy Window434.04 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
3ChapterThreeScienceof_the_Possible.pdfChapter Three: The Science of the Possible--Early attempts to reclaim the Athabasca oil sands, 1960-2010508.92 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
4ChapterFour_Landscapes_of_Reclamation.pdfChapter Four: Landscapes of Reclamation--Perceptions shaping oil sands reclamation, 1973-2013439.1 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
5ChapterFive_Proof_in_Uncertainty.pdfChapter Five: Proof in Uncertainty--Inscribing contamination on ghosts and bodies at the 2006 Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Hearings445.15 kBAdobe PDFUnder Embargo until 2999-12-13    Request a copy
6ChapterSix_Moral_Landscapes.pdfChapter Six: The perception problem--Moral landscapes of reclamation and the future of oil sands clean up449.32 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
7ChapterSeven_Conclusion.pdfChapter Seven: Conclusion220.83 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
8Appendices.pdfAppendices3.19 MBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
9Bibliography.pdfBibliography382.33 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy

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