This video is both very funny, and also 100% spot on. For more background on what this is all about, please click here. The bottom line is that trying to claim that tar sands development is “environmentally responsible” is utterly laughable. So, as the Greenpeace site points out, “while we will never be able to match the government and oil industry ad budgets, with your help we can use humour to turn their own ad budgets against them.” In other words, let’s help laugh Stephen Harper’s absurd tar sands greenwashing ads off the air.
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Video: Mayflower residents worried about health and wildlife impacts after ExxonMobil tar sands spill
From the NRDC YouTube channel: “Residents worry about impacts on health and wildlife after ExxonMobil Pipeline’s tar sands spill March 29, 2013, in the small town of Mayflower, AR, a reminder of the potential hazards that the Keystone XL pipeline could bring to other communities.”
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.”
Kudos to Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioners Ryan Lance and Tom Drean, who voted to slow down the mad rush “for an oil and gas company to inject produced water into a part of the Madison formation that, by all accounts, contains relatively clean water.” This little- noticed story deserves more attention, given that these types of battles are playing out all over the country, and also given that fracking poses major environmental risks.
In fact, decisions to risk aquifer contamination for the short-term profits that come with fracking for oil land gas rest on fundamentally flawed assumptions. For one, they assume that the waters to be contaminated with fracking waste lie too deep to be cost-effectively accessed anyway. And even IF that assumption were correct, the question would still be: why the heck would you risk throwing away an aquifer – any aquifer – when we will need all the fresh water we can get in the future?
Given that we don’t have the magical ability to produce more aquifers of fresh water, and given that we’re producing more fracking pollution as time goes on, this looks like a poor calculation of risk at best, reckless at worst. In the case of Wyoming, the decision to risk its precious aquifers in the mad rush to frack is fundamentally foolish. Sadly, though, it’s not a surprising decision in a state that has demonstrated its willingness to trash its resource base for the sake of dirty energy sector profits time and again. At least two officials showed wisdom in recognizing that “so much is at stake,” in declaring that “we have to get it right and we are committed to doing so,” and in voting accordingly.
Want to see what “environmentally responsible” tar sands looks like? Here it is (photo by Getty Images):
For a bit more background on this environmental disaster, click here.
“Now, you can’t drink water from the river. It’s too dangerous,” Ladouceur told The Huffington Post, taking a break from chopping wood. “We’re seeing deformed fish, which I’d never seen in my whole entire years. And something in that water is killing the muskrats.”
Ladouceur lives some 100 miles downstream from the heart of Alberta’s oil sands development. The sands underlie about 140,000 square kilometers (54,000 square miles) of Canadian boreal forest and peat bogs — an area about the size of Florida — and hold around 170 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Since mining began in 1967, at least two-thirds of the land has been leased for extraction with mining operations on about 715 square kilometers (276 square miles).
“Chemicals have been coming down here for years, ever since the oil companies got started,” Ladouceur said, adding that, when the winds are blowing right, he can smell the tar-like stench and see the pollution “hanging in the air.”
Digusting, and it’s all courtesy of a company, Suncor, which touts its “responsible development” and promises “a big environmental payoff.” Apparently, Suncor sees no contradiction between “big environmental payoff” and “something in that water is killing the muskrats.” I guess that’s what you can say when you’re a big, powerful oil company with essentially unlimited resources available to spread your propaganda.