Clothesline in Winter

Clothesline in Winter

Friday, September 30, 2011

Alberta Tar Sands: Please Don’t Look!

You watch the TV news, so you hear it every day:  Cheery, attractive people telling you the great news that Canadian “oil sands” will assure our energy security with just about the same emissions as “many other oils.”  If you trust the good folks at ExxonMobil, believe the ads, and look no further.

But in case you’re not so sure, I’ve copied a simple post from RethinkAlberta.  Also, don’t miss the short video below.  You might not believe your eyes.

Alberta Facts

  1. The Tar sands are the second largest oil reserve in the world.
Alberta’s crude bitumen oil reserves total 170.4 billion barrels, second in the world only to Saudi Arabia which is 264.2 billion barrels.

It's the water.  Four barrels lost per barrel of oil. And toxins leak out daily.

  1. The Tar Sands will destroy or degrade an area the size of England.
Tar Sands underlie 140,200 square kilometers. England is 130,410 square kilometers. While only a portion has currently been disturbed, the entire area is vulnerable to Tar Sands expansion.

  1. The Tar Sands will threaten millions of migratory birds and other wildlife.
“Combining the various estimates of the loss of birds from mining and in situ operations, this report projects a cumulative impact over the next 30 to 50 years ranging from a low of about 6 million birds lost to as high as 166 million birds lost.”

They send us the oil.  Indigenous people (and ducks) get to keep this.

  1. The Tar Sands consume up to four barrels of water to produce one barrel of oil.
Approximately 12 barrels of water are required to produce each barrel of oil from bitumen. Up to 70 percent of this water is reused, but that still means two to four barrels of water are used to produce each barrel of oil from oil sands mining operations.

  1. The toxic lakes cover an area of 170 square kilometers.

Fifty square miles of these "lakes." You can see them from space.

  1. It’s estimated that tailings lakes leak up to 11 million liters of contaminated water every day.

  1. Downstream native communities suffer from rare cancers linked to the same toxic compounds found in the tar sands.
The Alberta Health Services report on the incidence of cancer in Fort Chipewyan there was a 30% increase in cancers over the last 12 years. Leukemia and lymphomas were increased by 3-fold. Bile duct cancers were increased by 7-fold. Other cancers, such as soft tissue sarcomas, and lung cancers in women, were also elevated.

  1. The Tar Sands are the largest contributor to the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
The Tar Sands are expected to rise from 4% of national emissions in 2006 to 12% in 2020, and account for 44% of the total increase. This makes them the largest contributor to growth in Canada’s GHG emissions.
President Obama has to decide before the end of the year whether or not to permit the massive Keystone XL Pipeline, which will give rise to huge vast new tar sands mining and exploitation.  Before he does, take a look at this video and see what might be doing, on our behalf:  

On November 6th, we’ll be at the White House again – legally this time – to show the president how many Americans think this is unconscionable.This time, won’t you join us?  Learn more here.

Thanks for reading, and may God bless you.

J. Elwood

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