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It's not the pipeline.

It's the tar sands.

It's not the Keystone pipeline that should be the controversy; it's the mining of tar sands.

If it takes harsh, harmful methods to produce this material, the question of the pipeline becomes moot.

In the photo from space, note the proximity of the tailings pond to the Athabasca River. The pond stores contaminated water from processing the tar sands. ( You can bet they have a man who tells the media how careful they are about the environment. ) The pond is not even covered. The toxic stench is allowed to rise into the air and is blown around by the wind. It's as dirty as coal mining. The pond is one of hundreds of problems associated with this last-ditch kind of mining. ( By the way- at this point- coal mining is last-ditch mining, too. )


When the price of gas is stated at the pump, it leaves out the other money and 'cost' that we pay for it:

There are tax 'incentives' * that we pay, cleanup costs that we pay, health costs, damage to land, air and water. Forget the current price of a barrel of crude as it rises and falls: What are we really paying?


It's because of this that deep water drilling and tar sands mining can be characterized as grasping at straws. It's time to move on.

When we DO move on and look back, we will be embarrassed.


Data source page:

Photo source- NASA.


Here's another thing: There is an impression that we will get this oil for ourselves. That's not how it works. From the refinery, it goes out to the world market and we compete to buy it with everyone else. This is no boon for us.

Since the refined oil is not for us, the claim that Canada will either sell the product to us or to China is also bogus.

( Oddly, President Bill Clinton recently took up the argument that it is either for the U.S. or China. He took a position in support of the pipeline. He's a pretty smart guy. I don't get it. He did say something good, but- again- it contradicts his position: He said that America's continued addiction to oil stifles innovation and keeps the U.S. tethered to the past. I struggled to say something like that and he got it in one sentence. )


* Incentive- why does a corporation, earning record profits, need an incentive?

We developed the technology of modern solar and wind power but the money is being made from it in other countries. This technology did not receive the governmental boost that would normally come for things like this. But- during this period- oil and coal got their money. Even the President has been heard to use the bogus term, "clean coal". It's all backwards.


First part of the Wikipedia section on environmental issues (half way down the scroll):

Oil sands extraction is generally held to be more environmentally damaging than conventional crude oil. It can affect the land when the bitumen is initially mined and with large deposits of toxic chemicals; the water during the separation process and through the drainage of rivers; and the air due to the release of carbon dioxide and other emissions. Heavy metals such as vanadium, nickel,lead, cobalt, mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic, selenium, copper,manganese, iron and zinc are present in oil sands. The environmental impact caused by oil sand extraction is frequently criticized by environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Climate Reality Project,, MoveOn, League of Conservation Voters, Patagonia, Sierra Club, and Energy Action Coalition. The European Union plans to adopt the fuel quality directive, which calculates a fuel's entire life cycle of emissions, and therefore will make fuels from oil sands less competitive in the EU market. This has caused friction between the EU and Canada.


- the term, tar sands, is not strictly correct, since tar is a manufactured item. it is commonly used to describe the thick- almost solid- nature of the substance that must be treated with harsh chemicals, just to get it fluid enough to flow in a pipeline to the refinery. if the Keystone pipeline goes in, we will be pumping poison across the country.


Mar. 10- If you're not sure about the use of the term, 'poison', above, see this news item on a tar sands spill in a Michigan river. They expected to clean up in a month. It is 20 months later with no end in sight, because tar sands oil sinks to the river bed. Start at counter 06:35:


- i asked Stacey for feedback on this text. she added, …" pipelines are inherently bad… … there would be opposition to the pipeline even if the oil that was flowing through it came from conventional sources (drilling in the classic sense)."

- i forgot to talk about that- the argument that a pipeline spill in the Nebraska aquifer would be devastating to farmers and water drinkers.


Oct. 21. 2012.

- Pete just put this up from May, 2011, and commented, "Pipeline oil spill , almost no news coverage?" :

- i didn't hear anything about it till now. - this may be regular oil: look at the second photo: the lower left quadrant of the image show oil floating on the surface of the water. tar sands oil sinks to the bottom of the water and becomes even harder to clean up.

- Rachel Maddow reported a tar sands spill in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan:

- looking at the news piece again, i see that the tar sands oil does float on the surface at first. detail on that comes at counter 03:30.


- while we're on the subject, the lie in the term, "clean coal" goes way back to 1918:



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Taken on March 8, 2012