A recent New York Times article graphically demonstrates how absurd it is to claim that tar sands (not “oil sands,” as this article calls it) can be mined and transported “responsible” – certainly not with this sort of waste pile!
Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom.
And no one knows quite what to do about it, except Koch Carbon, which owns it.
The company is controlled by Charles and David Koch, wealthy industrialists who back a number of conservative and libertarian causes including activist groups that challenge the science behind climate change. The company sells the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste, usually overseas, where it is burned as fuel.
The coke comes from a refinery alongside the river owned by Marathon Petroleum, which has been there since 1930. But it began refining exports from the Canadian oil sands — and producing the waste that is sold to Koch — only in November.
Need any more evidence of how dirty this stuff is? How about this article, which reports that “in the aftermath of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill of over 500,000 gallons of diluted bitumen (dilbit) into Mayflower, AR, air quality in the area surrounding the spill has been affected by high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.” Or this article, which explains that “tar sands production is one of the world’s most environmentally damaging activities,” “wreck[ing] vast areas of boreal forest through surface mining and subsurface production,” also “suck[ing] up huge quantities of water from local rivers, turn[ing] it into toxic waste and dump[ing] the contaminated water into tailing ponds that now cover nearly 70 square miles.” As Lorne Stockman of Oil Change International puts it: “It’s really the dirtiest residue from the dirtiest oil on earth.”