Tar Sands

Topics: Petroleum, Oil sands, Sand Pages: 5 (1367 words) Published: November 12, 2014
20 June 2014
Say No to Keystone XL Pipeline
America is the largest consumer of oil than any other country and a lot of our oil comes from foreign countries. An oil pipeline project has been proposed from TransCanada called “Keystone XL Pipeline”. It is a pipeline system that will transport the world’s dirtiest fuel tar sands oil to the U.S Gulf Coast and Midwest refineries. This pipeline would cross six states in the U.S which are Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. This project will provide jobs, strength America’s economy, and reduce “America’s dependence on oil from Venezuela and the Middle East by up to 40 per cent” (TransCanada). But at what cost will this pipeline project hurt our environment. Not only is this going to destroy ecosystems, it will pollute water sources and, jeopardizing public health.

Pipelines have been around since 1865 when they needed to find an efficient way to transport oil. The demand of oil increased when the first automobile was introduced and during World War Two, making more pipelines to help transport oil. As the years passed more pipelines were made like the Enbridge Pipeline System. This pipeline system was transporting tar sand also know as “DilBit.” DilBit is as thick as peanut-butter and has high concentrations of chloride salts, abrasive quartz sand particles, sulfur, and higher acid concentrations than conventional crude oil. These chemicals make “physical abrasion can dramatically increase the rate of pipeline deterioration” (Tar Sands Oil Makes Pipelines More Vulnerable to Spills) and over time will break and cause large amounts of damages to local wildlife. When the Enbridge Pipeline System broke “more than 800,000 gallons of oil went into a creek that feeds into Michigan's Kalamazoo River” (Key Events in the History of Oil Pipelines in the U.S). Lisa Song a report that investigated the Kalamazoo River spill stated “alarms went off and the operators basically thought there was a large bubble somewhere in the pipeline, and they thought that’s what was causing the alarms and the different pressure drops. It wasn’t until after 11 a.m. the next morning that a local Michigan utilities employee saw crude oil in a creek and he called the Enbridge emergency line. So that’s how the company found out.” TransCanada says that the Keystone XL pipeline will have “high-tech pipeline control center that is staffed by highly-trained pipeline operators” how do we know that they will not make the same mistake as Enbridge. Enbridge knew about there oil spill but did not take any action and made enormous amounts of damages to local wildlife.

The Keystone XL pipeline will cross major rivers like the Missouri River, Yellowstone, and Red Rivers. It will also cross the Ogallala Aquifer that provides drinking water for two million Americans. These water sources also provide water to farms. People believe that there is a higher probability that the Keystone XL will leak because of the dozens of oil spills that TransCanada was in charge of. The Keystone Xl pipeline will be transporting tar sand oil making it much more difficult to clean up because tar sands sink rather than float on water. Are we willing to endanger are water sources and farms for a pipeline that will eventually break over time.

Tar sands or oil sands are a combination of clay, sand, water and bitumen heavy black oil. Extracting oil from tar sands is much more complex than pumping oil wells. It requires more energy for extraction and refining. This process requires large amounts of heat, water and chemicals to separate bitumen from sand, silt, and clay, to be able to flow through pipelines. The water that is used in this process comes from rivers and underground aquifers and requires about four barrels of water to make one barrel of oil. The water that was used in this process is then stored in large man-made pounds know as tailing ponds. Tailing ponds are polluted with toxic chemicals like cyanide,...
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