Oil Sands Pipelines, here?
by: David Suzuki Foundation Posted on: February 24, 2012
Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
By Ian Hanington, David Suzuki Foundation Editorial and Communications Specialist
Editor’s Note: We are privileged to have the David Suzuki Foundation. With help from Chinese state-owned companies and other oil companies, the development of the Alberta, Canada oil sands could bring tar-filled pipelines and tankers to the Great Northwest; explore below and help inform the dialogue.
Oil Sands Development is a Global Issue
The world’s biggest oil companies have gobbled up a chunk of wilderness in northern Alberta, Canada bigger than England, so that they can extract the mixture of sand, clay, tarry oil, and water known as bitumen. It may seem like an issue that is of interest mainly to Canadians, but the worldwide attention that the bitumen mining operations have been receiving is warranted. After all, climate change doesn’t recognize human borders.
Climate change is not the only issue, but it’s a big part of the problem, especially considering the pace and scale of the fossil fuel developments. To begin, extracting the tarry bitumen is far more energy-intensive than extracting conventional oil. The Alberta oil sands represent the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, with more than five per cent of Canada’s emissions coming from oil sands plants and upgraders. That doesn’t take into account the climate change impacts of destroying the large swaths of ancient northern boreal forest above the oil, transporting the bitumen to refineries in the U.S., or burning the oil for fuel.
Impacts on wildlife, water, and the health of communities, many of them aboriginal, in the area are also well-known.
But the bigger problem is that by rapidly developing and exploiting this resource, and developing more infrastructure to transport and refine it, we are digging ourselves deeper into a fossil-fuel-dependent hole. The massive amounts of capital invested could be used to help shift to cleaner energy sources, with regulated oil sands development providing fuel for years to come while we make the transition.
So, the climate impacts will affect people everywhere, including the Pacific Northwest. But another worry for people along the West Coast of Canada and the U.S. will be the increased tanker traffic if the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project goes ahead. The pipeline is proposed by Enbridge Inc., with support from major oil companies including Chinese state-owned companies, to carry bitumen from the oil sands to Kitimat, B.C., eventually for export to China and elsewhere. Much of it will be shipped to refineries in the U.S., increasing the risks of a catastrophic spill along the entire west coast. Federal regulatory hearings into the proposal started on January 10, 2012 and are expected to take up to two years.
People in the U.S. have a big stake in the oil sands, but they also have a lot of influence over the way development proceeds, as is clear from the recent protests and small victory over the Keystone XL Pipeline project, which would carry bitumen from the oil sands to refineries in Texas. Building and using the Keystone pipeline to capacity will result in a 50 per cent increase in oil sands production. It will also increase the risks of disastrous spills along the pipeline’s route, which would run from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
It’s time to start weaning ourselves from fossil fuels. It won’t be easy, but the oil sands give us a place to start.
P.S. from the Editors:
Entertain your curiosity with the links below:
Oil Sands info:
TAR SANDS: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent:
Northern Gateway Pipeline:
David Suzuki Foundation:
2 Responses to “Oil Sands Pipelines, here?”
Leave a Reply
Articles On PRESS
PRESS: Republished press from our community wires.
- Jun 13 The Fight For Local Democracy in New York City
- May 25 Crown Heights Tenant Union: Building Power One Building at a Time in NYC
- May 25 Activists Occupy Shipping Container to Halt AIM Pipeline Construction in Upstate NY
- May 25 Barrington, NH votes 795 to 759 to Adopt Community Bill of Rights to Protect Waterways
- May 25 Revoking The Consent to be Governed
- Apr 25 Announcement of Nationally Coordinated Prisoner Workstoppage for Sept 9, 2016
- Apr 19 The Spirit of Occupy Lives on in France’s Emerging Direct Democracy Movement
- Apr 19 How Sanders Could Lay the Foundation for a Third US Political Party
- Apr 10 Some Possible Ideas for Going Forward
- Apr 7 Reclaiming Black Land in Grafton, New York
- Apr 7 Meet the Lead Organizer Behind the Upcoming Mass Sit-Ins to get Money out of Politics
- Mar 28 Dismantling Corporate Control Isn’t a Spectator Sport: An Interview With Thomas Linzey
- Mar 16 Preempting Trump: Barnstead, NH Adopts First-In-Nation Law Protecting Against Religious Persecution
- Mar 4 This New Era Of Unrest
- Mar 1 Washington State Supreme Court Guts Local Ballot Initiative Process
- Feb 9 Debating A ‘New’ Pan-European Anti-Austerity Movement
- Feb 9 How New York Stopped A Liquefied Natural Gas Project In Its Tracks
- Jan 28 Food, Land, and Freedom
- Jan 27 One Oregon Tribe’s Fight for Federal Recognition
- Jan 20 Worker, Civil and Environmental Rights as Legal Ends: Defying Commerce’s Logic
- Jan 20 Fast-Food Workers Plan Wave Of Strikes For 2016 Primaries
- Jan 18 Greece’s Varoufakis to Launch Pan-European Progressive Movement
- Jan 6 California’s Largest Tribe Passes First-In-Nation Enforceable Ban On GM-Salmon and GMOs
- Dec 29 The Leap Manifesto
- Dec 29 “People’s Injunction” Launched to Block Canadian Pipelines
- Dec 29 How Black Lives Matter Came Back Stronger After White Supremacist Attacks
- Dec 29 Can Local Law Enforcement Be Democratized By A People’s Movement?
- Dec 9 Preempting Democracy: What’s Not Being Voted on This November Is Sinister
- Dec 9 A Bill of Rights That Puts Workers Above Corporations
- Dec 9 Government and Gas Industry Team Up Against Local Fracking Ban Initiatives in Ohio
- Dec 9 Fighting Fossils, Letting Go of Regulatory Law
- Aug 26 In Colorado, A Revolutionary New Coalition Stands for Community Rights
- Aug 26 Climate Crisis Pits Local Governments Against 19th-Century Legal Doctrine
- Aug 26 Hundreds of Communities Are Building Legal Blockades to Fight Big Carbon
- Jul 21 Will Labor Go Local?
- Jul 20 Challenging Bedrock Law: “Dillon’s Rule” in Detroit and Beyond
- Jul 19 Defining a Federalist Approach to Immigration Reform
- Jul 18 Why Are Fracking Hopefuls Suing a County in New Mexico?
- Dec 8 Finally, The Court Case We’ve All Been Waiting For
- Nov 8 Ohio and Colorado Voters Adopt Community Bills of Rights
- Nov 8 Community Rights Organizer Sets Sights on Fracking in Southern Illinois
- Nov 8 Critical Issues Deserve a Higher Standard
- Nov 7 Indigenous Peoples Experience Of Climate Change And Efforts To Adapt (Video)
- Oct 8 Naomi Klein Addresses New ‘Mega Union’
- Oct 8 Disco may be the only way to stop Monsanto (Video)
- Oct 8 (Ohio) Frack-Backers Launch Preemptive Strikes against Democracy Attempt to Block Community Bills of Rights from Voters
- Oct 8 The California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Speaks to the Need for Wise Immigration Reform
- Oct 8 Support Local Food Rights Will Not Be Deterred by Legislature’s Blow to Democracy
- Oct 8 Economic Sovereignty At Stake
- Oct 8 Sangerville, Maine Adopts Community Bill Of Rights Ordinance to Reject Transportation and Distribution Corridors
- Oct 8 Sacred Headwaters
- Oct 8 Oregon Communities Launch Statewide Network for Community Rights
- Sep 8 Bowling Green, OH Group Submits Bill of Rights Petition
- Sep 8 Judgment Day
- Sep 8 Judge Blocks Envision, SMAC Initiatives from Appearing on Ballot
- Sep 8 Why a Rights Based Ordinance In Nottingham, NH?
- Aug 8 What is the Local Food System Ordinance of Lane County?
- Aug 8 Lane County Initiative to Protect Local Farming Encounters Hurdle; Campaign Still Targeting May 2014 Election
- Aug 8 Benin: Local Knowledge And Adaptation To Climate Change In Ouémé Valley, Benin
- Aug 8 Local Food System Ordinance of Lane County, Oregon
- Jul 8 Envision Spokane Statement to Legal Action to Block the Community Bill of Rights from the Ballot
- Jul 8 Why does the Spokane City Council continue to ignore and distort the substance of the Spokane Community Bill of Rights?
- Jul 8 History of Efforts to Keep the Spokane Community Bill of Rights Initiative off the Ballot
- Jul 8 East Boulder County United Launches Campaign for the Lafayette Community Rights Act to Prohibit New Oil and Gas Extraction
- Jul 8 Benton County Community Group Files Petition for the Right to a Local, Sustainable Food System
- Jul 8 Rivers and Natural Ecosystems as Rights Bearing Subjects
- Jun 8 Caring for Home through Nature’s Rights
- Jun 8 From Field to Table: Rights for Workers in the Food Supply Chain
- Jun 8 Will Ohio Be Fracking’s Radioactive Dumping Ground?
- May 7 First County in U.S. Bans Fracking and all Hydrocarbon Extraction – Mora County, NM
- May 7 Self-Replication at Stake in Monsanto Patented Seed Case
- May 7 Guatemala: Mayan K’iché Environmental Sustainability As A Way Of Life
- May 7 Small Farms Fight Back: Food And Community Self-Governance
- May 7 State College Borough Gov Denies Pipeline Permit: Fight Isn’t Over
- May 7 Muzzling Scientists is an Assault on Democracy
- Apr 8 An Addition to the Climate Movement-Civil Disobedience Toolkit
- Apr 2 Thornton, New Hampshire Rejects Community Bill of Rights To Ban Land Acquisition for Unsustainable Energy Systems
- Apr 2 Grafton, New Hampshire Adopts Community Bill of Rights That Bans Land Acquisition for Unsustainable Energy Systems
- Apr 2 Highland Township Adopts Community Bill of Rights That Bans Toxic Injection Wells
- Apr 2 PSU Pipeline Violates Community Bill of Rights
- Jun 26 The United States Conference of Mayors Resolves that Corporations are not Natural Persons etc.
- Apr 30 Information and Documents concerning Oregon LNG
- Mar 9 1st Annual Read the Dirt Writing Competition!
- Feb 24 Oil Sands Pipelines, here?
- Feb 23 PRESS: Genetically Engineered Animals?
- Feb 23 PRESS: The 9th Annual Skagit Human Rights Festival March 2012
- Jan 27 Bellingham Rights-Based Ordinance Proposed to Stop Coal Trains
- Jan 26 PRESS: Occupy Seattle Joins in Solidarity with United Farm Workers
- Jan 20 Planning For a Future (Original)
- Jan 8 PRESS: Associated Students of Western Washington University Adopt Resolution Opposing Cherry Point Coal Terminal