Friday, December 09, 2011
Stop the Canadian Oil Sand Madness Now
Historically, surface mining has been used to extract tar sands and this method has produced at much CO2 as all the cars in Canada.
The tailings, what are left when the bitumin has been extracted, are being stored in ponds. In the tailings pond, the sand, clay and water separate out. The water is sent back to the plant to be reused. Even so, the huge amounts of water needed threatens the world's third largest watershed.
Mining is the oldest technique for removing the bitumin from oil sands. Today, 80% of the bitumin is recovered in situ, which means the operators drill from oil pads to access the bitumen before bringing into surface. They drill two horizontal safety wells called steam-assisted gravity drainage well. Steam in injected into the top layer, liquifying the bitumen so that it may flow and be processed.
Between the ever increasing air pollution and the poisons and heavy metals built up in the tailing ponds that may now been seen from space, there has been a rise in certain cancers and syndromes since oil sand production ramped up in 2005.