Tar sands oil extraction has been hailed by some as the never ending supply of energy that will power the planets future… not so much. We all know its a bunch of bull. No matter how you dress it up, oil is a fossil fuel and burning it is dirty. But I’m not here to get on my soap box today. An article on Think Progress yesterday was interesting in for two reasons:
First, dry weather is having an effect on the oil extraction from the Alberta Tar Sands, to the extent that Canadian authorities are suspending licenses from oil companies. Surprise to none of us that oil extraction needs water.
Second, “Tar sands mining is a type of surface mining in which the top layer of organic matter — trees and plants — is scrapped off, and heavy crude oil is filtered from the sand and clay below. Three barrels of water are needed for every barrel of oil extracted from the tar sands, according to Friends of the Earth.” In case you wanted to know exactly how destructive and what the process of “Tar Sands Extraction” was. “More than 90 percent of this water, 400 million gallons per day, ends up as toxic waste dumped in massive pools that contain carcinogenic substances like cyanide”.
If you take a minute to look at the image above and see what is happening, not only is the process of filtering and refining tar sands incredibly dirty and toxic, to add insult to injury, it’s “mined” by simply stripping the Earth barren – almost impossible not to have images of The Lorax and the barren wasteland of tree stumps come to mind, literally.
Great line from Simon Dowell (a climate scientist at the University of British Columbia), “It is somewhat ironic, This is a reminder that even the fossil fuel industry has to be worried about the impacts of climate change.”
(Photo Credit: Outside Magazine Aaron Huey)