Since Keystone is such a hot issue in the press today, I thought that I’d follow my post from about an hour ago with a few articles from around the web today. The argument for tar sands oil extraction is the same as it is for Keystone. It’s touted by oil companies as a steady, reliable source of energy from a politically stable country (Canada) and a way to create jobs and meet energy demands. The reserves in areas of Canada found in tar sands are plentiful enough that they have been compared to the reservoirs found in the Middle East during the early days of the oil boom. So, what’s the problem?
Well, the problem is that it’s not true. The part about hot they are plentiful is, but the benefits of tar sands are much smaller than often publicized, and the risks far, far greater.
First, Washington Post ran an article similar to CNN Money’s exploring how much of the “jobs creation” hype surrounding Keystone XL is truth and how much is fiction. The analysis is here, and it comes to a very similar conclusion, calling the myth that Keystone would create tens of thousands of jobs a “bipartisan fumble.”
Meanwhile, for those of you who want to understand the real issues at stake, and not just the politicking back-and-forth, here are a few sources on tar sands oil that are worth a look. The summary with tar sands: it’s messy, it leaves the extraction site horribly contaminated and permanently devastated, and has an enormous energy and carbon footprint. Tar sands extraction is the strip mining of the oil world, and looks something like this in practice:
Anybody want to go for a hike?
I didn’t think so.
For more reading on the issue, check out any of the following:
- National Wildlife Federation’s Summary on the Tar Sands issue
- This analysis of the true impact of tar sands on oil & gas prices
- A Grist analysis of what tar sands oil would mean for national energy security
- National Geographic weighing in on what the Canadian tar sands boom would really mean
- A Discovery network analysis of the “sticky problem with tar sands“
- A New York Times op-ed outlining the negative impacts of tar sands
- Mapleleaf’s compilation of articles and analyses of Canadian tar sands reserves