I would gladly strangle 500 ducks with my bare hands in order to get a single barrel of oil

Well, everything old is new again... more ducks have died in the tailings ponds in Fort McMurray.

Naturally, the usual suspects are up in arms...

Suffering from a self-described 'international image problem,' there's no doubt the Alberta Government considered that last week's record fine against Syncrude would quiet critics who claimed the province's oilsands environmental regulations were too lax. The 3 million dollar fine against Syncrude for failing to adequately deter approximately 1100 ducks from landing — and subsequently dieing — in one of its tailings ponds was a demonstration of the effectiveness of Alberta's environmental legislation.
I'm still left agape that people can with a straight face think that the $3,200,000 fine for 1600 ducks is too easy on the oil giant.

This is a photo of a dead duck. At West Edmonton Mall, T&T Supermarket [yes, yes asians of Edmonton, we know that Lucky 97 has better bargains.. -ed] sells these duck carcasses for $2.58/lb. The duck featured here costs $14.01. Syncrude's fine works out to $2000 per duck, a fine that's for some unfathomable reason almost 143 times higher than the going market rate for this same resource. In fact, the duck featured in the photo should be worth more rather than less than a Fort Mac duck: its already plucked, de-oiled, weighed, and packaged.

The only argument the duck-fine defenders can rally is that Syncrude bespoiled the beautiful environment which contained these ducks. But if that was really the argument, than what Syncrude would have had to pay would be for the replacement of the lost fowl to said environment. If the fine was that Syncrude pay (even a relatively outrageous markup, 200-300%) various duck farmers to buy live ducks and replace them to the environment once they're capable of flight.

Meanwhile, I'm reminded of what I remarked back when the original duck incident occured, which I happily replicate in the title to this blogpost. Of all the pains and calamities of dealing with the tarsands, the occasional death of a few ducks seems the least of our concerns. I've gotta share this quote from mymcmurray.com commentator momstaxi:
What a bunch of sh--!!!! There has been more commotion about a few ducks meeting their demise than when people accidentally get run over by heavy haulers . The ducks were front page news for months . Fort McMooseyToe, you seem to have alot of free time. Go out to the ponds and wave you arms and make funny sounds to keep the ducks away. Be a productive member of society.
Should the tailings ponds be removed? Uh, of course. Seeing as how one day the oil will be gone, there is a vested interest in the landowner ensuring that the resale value will be maximized: and that means removing the tailings ponds, sooner rather than later. The other thing to remember is that the insane costs of these tailings ponds is a continual thorn in Syncrude/Suncor/Shell's side. Why did the 2008 incident occur? Because a large snowstorm in late April prevented Syncrude from safely sending crews out to deploy the ingenuously designed anti-bird-landing prevention systems. Yes, you read that correctly: by wisely determining that potential loss of human life was worth more than potential loss of duck life (or even potential of massive loss of duck life), Syncrude was punished. I hope the employees of Syncrude appreciate that when all is said and done, we're extracting oil out of the ground for the betterment of human beings, and their employer will not lose sight of that or jeopardize their safety on behalf of an animal you can see, dead en masse, as T&T Asian Supermarket.