Stop Dirty Fuels:
Stop Dirty Fuels : Tar Sands : Liquid Coal : Oil Shale
In Canada, the oil industry is transforming one of the world's last remaining intact ecosystems into America's gas tank.
Alberta's boreal forest and wetlands are home to a diverse range of animals, including lynx, caribou and grizzly bears, and serve as critical breeding grounds for many North American songbirds and waterfowl. Oil companies are scraping up hundreds of thousands of acres of this wildlife haven to mine tar sands -- silty deposits that contain small amounts of crude bitumen.
Extracting tar sands, and turning bitumen into crude oil, uses vast amounts of energy and water, and causes significant air and water pollution, and three times the global warming pollution of conventional crude production. The rush to strip-mine and drill tar sands in the boreal will destroy and fragment millions of acres of this wild forest for low-grade petroleum fuel.
TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would be the third new dedicated tar sands pipeline, and would lock the United States into a dependence on hard-to-extract oil and generate a massive expansion of the destructive tar sands oil operations in Canada in coming decades.
Tar sands developments are already wreaking havoc on both people and wildlife in the region. For aboriginal peoples, the mining reduces local water supplies and increases exposure to toxic substances. Expanding tar sands operations also heightens the risk for NRDC's Peace-Athabasca Delta BioGem -- just downstream from these developments.
In addition to the extraction impacts, the proposed pipeline would stretch 2000 miles from Alberta, Canada to Texas, threatening to contaminate freshwater supplies in America's agricultural heartland and increase refinery emissions in already-polluted communities of the U.S. Gulf Coast.
At a time when we must embrace a clean energy future, tar sands take us far in the wrong direction. The United States should instead implement a comprehensive oil savings plan and reduce oil consumption by increasing fuel efficiency standards, hybrid cars, renewable energy, environmentally sustainable biofuels, and smart growth to meet our transportation needs.
More about Dirty Fuels from
NRDC's staff blog
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