Narrated by Peter Coyote
Canada is the number one foreign supplier of oil to the United States, a fact little known in America. Most of the oil imported comes from the Tar Sands of Northern Alberta, the second largest known oil reserve in the world outside of Saudi Arabia.
But this is not a traditional oil field. The oil must be extracted and processed from the sands at a significant environmental cost — requiring huge quantities of a diminishing fresh water supply and large amounts of energy that contribute to global warming.
White Water, Black Gold follows David Lavallee on his three-year journey across Western Canada in search of the truth about the impact of the world’s thirstiest and dirtiest oil industry. This is a journey of jarring contrasts, from the pristine mountain ice fields that are the source of the industry’s water, to the Tar Sands tailing ponds, where thousands of migrating birds have unwittingly landed and died.
Both government and industry spokespeople deny any cause for concern, but in the course of his journey Lavallee, backed by university scientists, makes a number of discoveries that challenge that assessment and raise serious concerns for Canada and the United States.
Native peoples living downstream are contracting unusual cancers; new science shows that water resources in an era of climate change will be increasingly scarce; the proposed upgrading of the oilfields could endanger multiple river systems across Canada that makeup about half of its water supply; and a planned oil pipeline across British Columbia brings fresh threats to rivers, salmon and the Pacific Ocean.
White Water, Black Gold is a sober look at the untold costs associated with developing this major oil deposit, and raises important questions about how much environmental damage we’re willing to tolerate to feed our oil appetite.
Running Time: 57 minutes
+ 83 Minutes on one Disk
Scene Selection • Closed Captioned
A film by David Lavallee
Best Canadian Film Award,Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival
Platinum Documentary Award Winner, Oregon Film Awards
John Muir Award, Yosemite Film Festival
DocUtah Film Festival, 2012
Durango International Film Festival, 2012
Tyrolean Independent Film Festival, Innusbruck, 2012
Wild and Scenic Film Festival
Projecting Change Film Festival
Tipping Man Film Festival
Planet in Focus Film Festival
World Community Film Festival