There’s a simple way for Canadians to take the spotlight off the Keystone XL pipeline.
Find a way to make the fight even more offensive.
In fact, they’ve learned the easiest way for a Canadian company to mine tar sands and have it processed in American facilities is to extract it directly from U.S. soil. Of course that would require camouflaging the company’s location -- including filing a dba that sounds solidly American, such as U.S. Oil Sands…even though the company extracting the dirty climate changing substance is a company based in Calgary, Alberta.
The controversial oil extraction process made famous by Canada — deemed the world’s “dirtiest type of liquid fuel” — is coming to America.For the record, U.S. Oil Sands is not the first company planning to extract tar sands in the U.S. It is simply the first foreign company. Kentucky-based Arrakis Oil Recovery was the first.
According to a Sunday report in DeSmogBlog, a Canadian company called U.S. Oil Sands has received all the necessary permits to open the nation’s second commercial-scale tar sands mine, which will soon begin producing tar sands oil — a thick, hard-to-extract mixture of heavy oil, sand, and water. The Utah Unitah Basin project will be allowed to extract 2,000 barrels of oil per day. Some scientists say the unique and energy-intensive extraction process produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventionally produced oil.
Later this summer, a company plans to open a surface mine in southern Kentucky. But the operation won’t be mining for coal. Instead, they’re seeking to extract a new natural resource in the commonwealth: tar sands.And what will the cost be to our environment? As reported by Think Progress:
Tar sands mining in Canada has sparked protests, both there and in the United States. Environmental groups have pointed to water and air pollution from the operation, as well as increased greenhouse gas emissions from mining and processing the heavy tar sands. There's an ongoing debate about whether the United States should allow the northern section of the Keystone XL pipeline to be built, which would transport the oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
…it takes approximately four tons of sand and four barrels of fresh water to make a barrel of oil, which is the equivalent of about 42 gallons. The amount of water the process uses is of particular concern in Utah, where water is scarce. Still, U.S. Oil Sands has received permits from the Utah Water Quality Board despite questions about the ongoing water crisis in Utah and the American southwest.Let’s face it; America is for sell to the highest bidder. I know; I live in L.A. where foreign corporations are changing the landscape in ways that are not always appealing.
Extracting and burning tar sands oil also produces a byproduct called “petcoke” — a coal-like, high-sulfur, high-carbon solid that burns dirtier than coal. It also tends to get stored in huge piles that can release huge, dirty dust clouds on unsuspecting residents.
Meanwhile, in Alberta, federal scientists have found that the area’s large tar sands deposits are now surrounded by a nearly 7,500-square-mile ring of mercury.
But the efforts by U.S. Oil Sands really alters the landscape.
The company currently holds leases on just over 32,000 acres in Utah's Uintah Basin. U.S. Oil Sands' mining will take place at PR Spring on the Colorado Plateau in an area called the Bookcliffs, which straddles the Utah/Colorado border.From DeSmogBlog:
The reason Keystone XL matters so much is not just its symbolic importance as the fact that it would reflect a major long-term commitment to continued fossil fuel extraction — at a moment when climate experts are saying we must take immediate and drastic action and leave two-thirds of known fossil reserves in the ground.
In his State of the Union, Mr. Obama talked up benefits of oil and gas and then gave mention to renewables like wind and solar, but he showed no awareness that a long-term commitment to fossil fuels is in direct tension with furthering renewable energy.
"If we are truly serious about fighting the climate crisis, we must look beyond an ‘all of the above’ energy policy and replace dirty fuels with clean energy," the Sierra Club’s Michael Brune said. "We can’t effectively act on climate and expand drilling and fracking for oil and gas at the same time."