Mordor rises in the north
By BRIAN BACK
Posted: June 17, 2008There is a nondescript section of I-94, just west of Johnson Creek, that passes over an underground river of black gold. Within months, a million barrels of crude oil daily will gush under the oblivious traffic. That’s almost 5% of America’s thirst.
Most of the oil will come from a tarry mix of sand and oil scattered over an area the size of Florida in Alberta, Canada. Originally called the tar sands, it’s rebranded as the more palatable oil sands.
While growing up in Canada, I watched the costly attempts to strip-mine the oil when technology was not up to the challenge and the low price of oil never justified it. Above $130 a barrel, after decades of ramping up the technology, the story has changed. Today, there is an oil rush around the town of Fort McMurray — dubbed Fort McMoney.