Tar Sands represents the largest industrial project in human history. The development of this resource is achieved by clear cutting some of the largest intact forests in the world followed by scraping and boiling top soil. This extraction process destroys ecosystems that First Nations and innumerable species depend upon and poisons enormous quantities of water, air, and soil for centuries. This destructive process is largely powered by hydro-fracked gas and represents an intersectionality of all these extraction processes.
In addition to the inherently devastating nature of tar sands extraction there are no safe ways to transport tar sands. Tar sands bitumen must be diluted from its asphalt like consistency to a thinner substance by a proprietary, undisclosed chemical cocktail as well as heated by stations every 40 miles to be moved through pipes. The nature of this diluted bitumen (dil-bit) is a caustic and corrosive material that will sooner or later leak. The Keystone 1 tar sands pipeline alone leaked 12 times in its first year of operation!
Petroleum Industry hacks declare that pipelines are the “safest” way to transport petroleum products, but tar sands pipelines, with only a decade long histroy, have an abysmal safety record, spilling hundreds of times, including a spill near the Kalamazoo River in 2010 that released almost a million gallons of diluted bitumen, and is still not cleaned up as well as the recent Mayflower, AR spill where displaced residents are still unable to return to their homes after a month has passed.
It is a fact that all pipelines leak, it is a matter of when and not if. Tar sands dilbit or heavy crude, as the industry often calls it, is more caustic, more abrasive material that is transported at a higher temperature and a higher pressure than conventional crude. Diluted by proprietary chemicals transporting tar sands is an inherently dangerous activity that poisons water for all species for generations.
We at Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance are opposed to all forms and stages of tar sands exploitation. Extraction, transportation, and refining all create sacrifice zones of people economically less able, predominately of color to resist toxic industries.
2010 Kalamazoo spill: