Tar sand oil extraction — already a growing environmental issue in Canada — has now made it to America. Considered the most polluting of energy extraction industries, tar sand processing is becoming a more appealing option in this current “energy at all costs” zeitgeist — fueled by a major domestic energy push by the Obama administration.
The primary focus of concern in the US is the proposed Keystone XL pipeline which is currently under review. According to the Trans Canada website, the pipeline will “will play an important role in linking a secure and growing supply of Canadian crude oil with the largest refining markets in the United States, significantly improving North American security supply.”
However, critics charge that the US State department is not doing enough to assess possible harmful environmental impacts of the 13 billion dollar pipeline. Environmental groups assert that the proposed pipeline would put 30 % of our nation’s agricultural water at risk of contamination.
The pipeline is being installed in three phases, the first is completed and extends the pipeline into the US Midwest; the second phase commenced in Feb. 2011 and will extend the pipeline from Steele City, Nebraska to market facilities in Cushing, Oklahoma. The final phase will further extend the pipeline to the Port Arthur, Texas “marketplace”.
Apparently, this issue of water contamination from the inevitable leakages is not being addressed in public hearings — hearing which end tomorrow, June 6. To voice your concern before its too late to do so, visit the Care2 petition site and sign the petition!
According to the Care2 site: “Tar sands oil is the dirtiest fuel in the world, and its development will destroy ancient forests, increase carbon pollution, and continue America’s dependence on oil”
The petition is being sponsored by the Sierra Club.
Michael Ricciardi is a well-published writer of science/nature/technology articles and essays, poetry and short fiction. Michael has interviewed dozen of scientists from many scientific fields, including Brain Greene, Paul Steinhardt, and Nobel Laureate Ilya Progogine (deceased). Michael was trained as a naturalist and taught ecology and natural science on Cape Cod, Mass. from 1986-1991. His first arts grant was for production of the environmental (video) documentary 'The Jones River - A Natural History', 1987-88 (Kingston, Mass.). Michael is also an award winning, internationally screened video artist. Two of his more recent short videos; 'A Time of Water Bountiful' and 'My Name is HAM' (an "imagined memoir" about the first chimp in space), and several other short videos, can be viewed on his website (http://www.chaosmosis.net). Michael currently lives in Seattle, Washington.