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News item: Report: Alberta Oil Sands Most Destructive Project on Earth

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8 comments, last: Jan-1-2010   Add a comment   Contributor:  TheTeam (Feb-18-2008)    Play a Video
Optimism: 1 Categories: Global Warming, Pollution, Sustainable Living

Environmental Defence has released a report calling the Alberta Oil Sands the most destructive project on Earth. 

"Few Canadians know that Canada is home to one of the world's largest dams and it is built to hold toxic waste from just one Tar Sands operation," Rick Smith, the executive director of Environmental Defence. 

And according to the report this is just the beginning. Approvals have already been given that will double the size of existing operations and Canada's leaders have been talking with the US government to grow oil sands operations in a "short time span." 

Even a former Premier of Alberta is concerned. Peter Lougheed who served as Premier from 1971 to 1985 was recently quoted on the oil sands as saying: 

... it is just a moonscape. It is wrong in my judgment, a major wrong... So it is a major, major federal and provincial issue." 

However, there is a silver lining in all this. A recent Canadian parliamentary committee recently stated that: 

A business as usual approach to the development of the oil sands is not sustainable. The time has come to begin the transition to a clean energy future." 

Here's a few facts about the Alberta Oil Sands: 

• Oil sands mining is licensed to use twice the amount of fresh water that the entire city of Calgary uses in a year. 

• At least 90% of the fresh water used in the oil sands ends up in ends up in tailing ponds so toxic that propane cannons are used to keep ducks from landing in them. 

• Processing the oil sands uses enough natural gas in a day to heat 3 million homes in Canada. 

• The toxic tailing ponds are considered one of the largest human-made structures in the world. The ponds span 50 square kilometers and can be seen from space. 

• Producing a barrel of oil from the oil sands produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions than a barrel of conventional oil. 

• The oil sands operations are the fastest growing source of heat-trapping greenhouse gas in Canada. By 2020 the oil sands will release twice the amount produced currently by all the cars and trucks in Canada.
External link for original news item, Feb-18-2008  
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Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jan-1-2010)   Web site
You said a lot right there, Anonymous person. Thanks for the last comment of the year 2009. Maybe I have a prize of some kind...
Comment by: Anonymous (Dec-31-2009)   

People have to start understanding that the problem is not the oil producing companies. They are only supplying what is in demand as long as there is money to be made.

You and I are the problem. We demand too much oil & other resources. Before anyone can complain about the companies take a quick look at your habits... sell that gas guzzling SUV, try to recycle, bike, walk, turn off the lights and A/C. Don't by items with tons of packaging on them (plastics are made from petroleum).
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Nov-25-2008)   Web site

Hello, lifeofafridge (LOAF?) So, who is Rick Smith?

Beijing is not a walk in the park either, you are right about that. It is hard to compare mining oil sands with its effect, with industry and its air pollution effects. Can we agree that neither one is particularly desirable?
Comment by: lifeofafridge (Nov-25-2008)   

Rick Smith says oil sands is the most destructive project on earth...Go to Bejing , stand in the middle of a crowded street and inhale very deeeeply...if you can Rick!!
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Apr-2-2008)   Web site

I mostly agree with you... except where you say that the price is high due to bickering, lobbying, etc. The analyses I have seen point to the great costs (both financial and environmental) of getting usable oil from the tar sands. You and I agree that a push is needed that will get governments to change their focus to renewables. Yes, we are paying the price.
Comment by: willys36 (Apr-1-2008)   

I agree. But my point still stands. Nothing is happening right now to actually make that push and everyone is paying the price.
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Apr-1-2008)   Web site

Many people who have looked at this feel that we need a major push into renewable energy sources i.e. primarily those based on the sun (plus geothermal). Solar sources include photo-voltaic, wind, and waves and tides (moon and sun). The problem might be that the tar sands are inherently expensive to convert to usable oil due to the difficulty in digging it out and extracting the oil portion.
Comment by: willys36 (Mar-31-2008)   

Seriously, either something needs to happen or not. We have two choices: Let this mining continue uninhibited meaning lower gas prices, but very high pollution, or it needs to stop altogether, leaving us with insane gas prices, but a very clean environment. But this bureaucracy BS does nothing to effectively clean up the operation while driving prices through the roof. The whole reason Middle East oil is so cheap (aside from the cheaper extraction) is because they don't have to deal with this bickering, lobbying, and BS'ing.

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