STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Short Term Gain, Long Term Ecological Pain

Posted by mhudema on July 10, 2008

July 9, 2008 10:00 AM

The tar sands: Investing for short-term gain, long-term eco-disaster

India is considering investing up to $10 billion dollars in Canada’s tar sands. This is yet another case of one country wanting to make a financial killing while helping to kill a distant ecosystem. But on a small planet where pollution from one place can have an impact on a region thousands of kilometres away and our fragile atmosphere is a shared space, nations and companies must wake up to their responsibilities.

There’s a lot of money to be made from oil in Canada. Alberta’s tar sands are one of the world’s greatest reserves of energy in an era of rising oil and gas prices. The problem is that we simply don’t have the technology yet to extract the oil from the area without paying a heavy environmental price.

Drill machinery in Alberta

As noted in an article titled “Let Them Drink Oil” on the Celsias website, the tar sands project is putting Alberta’s scarce water resources under severe strain:

“Companies also use fresh water to make steam to force petroleum out of the oil sands and to make mud for drilling. There are no clear numbers on how much the industry actually uses but last year it had permits for more than 278 billion litres of fresh water. That’s more water than is used every year by three of Alberta’s largest cities, and the companies get their water for free.”

The tar sands are contributing to staggering increases in Canada’s carbon emissions. If Canada wants to meet its international climate change responsibilities, Canadian companies and outside investors are going to have to forget about their free ride.

Jonathon Narvey is principal consultant at WRITEIMAGE. He blogs about current events and life in Vancouver at Currents.

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