Wednesday, August 31, 2011

some facts about the Canadian tar sands ...


Tar Sands Action's sit-ins in Washington DC are succeeding in informing people about the Canadian tar sands and the extreme price we pay for gathering oil from them.

The protest revolves around the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, which would speed the flow of crude oil from the tar sands to US refineries.

Approx. 20% of US oil comes from Canada and 40% of Canada's oil production is from tar sands.

So what are tar sands and why should we care? Tar sands, or oil sands are a mix of clay, sand, water and oil and particularly bitumen, which is a heavy, viscous material. Unlike drilled oil, tar sands have to be mined to get at the bitumen and refine it into oil.

Bitumen is highly carcinogenic and requires extensive processing to make it thin enough to flow through pipes. Four tons of sand and soil are removed and dumped for every one barrel of oil gained from tar sands

(Al Gore wrote a great book about the devastation from soil removal- not his book An Inconvenient Truth, but an older book, I believe from before he was Vice President, the title is slipping my mind - like alot of things these days- but if you google it, it is a great read)

and three barrels of water to extract just one barrel of oil. More than 400 million gallons of water per day ends up dumped in toxic tailing pools which leak 3 million gallons of contaminated water daily.

Tar sands oil production emits 3 times more carbon dioxide per barrel than traditional oil production and the tar sands of Alberta, Canada are located under Canada's Boreal forest which is one of the largest intact ecosystems remaining on the planet. Removing the carbon-storing forest ecosystem to get at the tar sands will be more and more detrimental.

By 2020 the Tar Sands will release twice as many greenhouse gases than currently produced by all the cars and trucks in Canada!

Local production negatively impacts birds and caribou and moose and the indigenous people ... and all of us.

If the U.S. government approves the pipeline, renowned climatologist James Hansen says it will be "game over" for the global climate.

There is a petition to Obama to stop this pipeline HERE
and to focus on developing clean, safe energy.

BTW if you haven't seen Bill Nye tackle this brain-dead climate skeptic at FOX news (again) you will love this

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