Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Politicians and Oil Companies Don't Get It

      I live in Alberta, Canada. We have the Athabasca tar sands which covers an area almost the size of the state of Florida , U.S.A.

     Some of  the bitumen produced by the tar sands is processed in Canada and some in the US. When we sell our bitumen to the US we don't get world prices. Therefore the Canadian Govt. the Alberta Govt. and big oil companies are lobbying for pipelines. One pipeline that has receive much publicity is the Key Stone XL pipeline which would take bitumen to Texas refineries.

    The approval for this pipeline has been held up for 6 years by various groups opposed to the pipeline.

    Now the Canadian Govt., Alberta govt. and big oil companies are their own worst enemy in this project.

    The present operations cover 715 sq km. It is the ugliest project on the face of the earth. Forests, waterways... everything is destroyed in the path of these mines. Gigantic plants are extracting the bitumen from the tar sands. There are major tailings ponds that contain all the water and chemicals used to extract the bitumen from the tar sands. The tailings ponds are disasters waiting to happen. Now if this doesn't register major environmental damage and climate change then I don't know what climate change is.

    Now the three groups I've mentioned just don't get why there's opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline or at least they say they don't understand. They have done a great job of stone walling and playing fast and loose with the numbers trying to show that the tar sands operations do not contribute huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Now if they were honest and presented a realistic case they may get a pipeline. They just don't realize that the rest of the world sees through their lies. When will they ever get it?

   Each company that starts a tar sands operation has to establish a fund for reclamation of the mines. (open pit) These funds are really quite small. There are promises made to reclaim the land. So far nothing has happened except a demonstration project of around 50 acre.

   The world looks at these open pit mines with horror.

    Alberta has a very dismal record of reclamation of oil wells that are finished producing. In many cases the wells are sold to smaller and smaller companies until somebody walks away and abandons the well. The last company to own the well has nothing that the government can have to pay for reclaiming the well. The Alberta government then has to reclaim the well. 

  Now I know this is a very incomplete description of the tar sands operation but I hope that I've given you an idea of how monstrous the project is and that it's far from environmentally suitable.