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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Heavy Toll of Imported Oil

Even during our current down economy, the US is importing $850 million worth of oil each day. Last month, October 2009, more than 350 million barrels arrived in US ports with a price tag of about $26.5 billion.

That is money leaving the US economy with much going to OPEC nations. However, number one on that list for getting US dollars is our friendly northern neighbor. Canada is the top exporting nation for the oil we consume.

Some of this Canadian oil comes from the tar sands of Alberta. Deposits are spread out over an area the size of Florida in a landscape that’s being permanently altered and possibly permanently polluted. Before it became technologically feasible to extract the oil, the area was mostly covered in Boreal forest. The extraction process removes the trees, the top soil and other vegetation are then scraped away to reveal sand coated in a mix of water and bitumen, a heavy oil.
In one of the area projects, the oily sands are washed with water from the nearby Athabasca River. The oil is skimmed off and the, now contaminated, water cannot be pumped back into the river. Instead, the water sloughed into tailing ponds where it sits. That tainted water may still get into the water table or the nearby river.

Tar sands operations, continually growing, are now producing over a million barrels of oil per day with permanent damage to the planet left in their wake.

Via Green Energy News

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