Oil sands near Ft. McMurray
Credit: Kris Krug/Flickr

A weekly roundup of news and views on energy, mining, forestry and more

Canada’s economy grew by an expected 0.2 per cent in August, as the energy sector rebounded after devastating wildfires in Alberta. This marked the third consecutive month natural resources expanded, due to more oil extraction and a surprise jump in potash mining, according to Statistics Canada’s gross domestic product report released on Tuesday. But the 0.9-per-cent bump in oil and gas output showed the energy sector returning to levels seen before the wildfires briefly stopped some oil sands operations. Without the increases in oil and potash, economic growth would have been 0.1 per cent in August. “The report continues to confirm to us that the strength in recent months was driven by a normalisation in the oil sector following disruption from the wildfires,” said Charles St-Arnaud of Nomura Securities, reported the Globe and Mail. “This continues to suggest that there is little underlying momentum in the economy.” (Globe and Mail

Bottled Canadian air is the latest of our resources to find overseas markets. Vitality Air is an Edmonton-based company that claims to be “a leading provider of affordable and convenient natural air.” It’s not alone: in some of the world’s most polluted cities, people will pay hard-earned money for bottled air from fresh-smelling places. The market for all kinds of pollution-fighting tools is booming in many smog-choked cities in China, India and Southeast Asia. Innovations abound, including air purifiers that are attached to bicycles and outdoor towers that are meant to suck up smog. Bottled air is one of the least-practical but most-talked-about ideas. It can hardly replace the local atmosphere—one person would require at least eight to 10 bottles a minute to breathe. But residents in smoggy places are snapping it up anyway. (New York Times

A pipeline in Alabama that supplies gasoline to millions of people was shut down for the second time in two months, raising the spectre of another round of gas shortages and price increases. The operator, Colonial Pipeline, said the disruption occurred on Monday when a track hoe—a machine used to remove dirt—struck the pipeline, ignited gasoline and caused an explosion. Flames and thick black smoke engulfed a forest in northern Alabama. One worker was killed and five were injured. In September, a leak spilled more than a million litres of gasoline not far from the location of Monday's explosion. That leak led to days of dry pumps and higher gas prices in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas while repairs were made. (CBC)