Tar Sands in Alberta

Topics: Petroleum, Oil sands, Athabasca Oil Sands Pages: 2 (584 words) Published: November 7, 2012
Tarmageddon: Dirty oil is turning Canada into a corrupt petro-state

In Andrew Nikiforuk’s environmental article, “Tarmageddon: Dirty oil is turning Canada into a corrupt petro-state,” Nikiforuk accurately supports his thesis of negative impacts on the environmental, economical, and political problems Canada could face due to the Alberta tar sands. Nikiforuk is a credited journalist who has won seven National Magazine awards and awards from the Association of Canadian Journalist. He writes passionately about the major effects that mining bitumen and long term consequences of the tar sands in Alberta. His articles has a bias and is written in a pessimistic tone against the tar sands, but is justified with concrete evidence.

The tar sands in Alberta are land masses that are being mined for large deposits of bitumen and crude oil causing a colossal environmental controversy. They have “blackened the country’s environmental reputation” (P 211) Nikiforuk states, immediately gives the readers a strong emotional disposition even without further knowledge of the tar sands. The project is massive enough to ruin our entire country’s reputation by making “minimal investments in green energy” (P 211). The product bitumen that is being extracted from the earth has a “carbon footprint 244 percent greater” (P211) than domestic crude at the cost of “1.4 million hectares of forest” (P212). After the land has been mined, open pits that are not sustainable for plant life are left in its place. The immense amount of toxic waste is buried in “unlined dykes” (P212) that leak waste into our ecosystems threatening plant and animal life even endangering species survival. Steam plants needed to melt out bitumen require “one joule of energy to make 1.4 joules of bitumen” (P212) results in very little net gain.

The tar sands started in the 1990’s, but it wasn’t until 2009 that “federal and provincial standards for reporting the volume of pollutants…and for reducing mining waste”...
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