Great Plains Tar Sands

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Tar Sands is a huge industrial project that has been vehemently opposed by residents. The development of this resource was achieved by clear cutting some of the largest intact forests in the world followed by scraping and boiling top soil.

The Keystone I and Keystone XL pipelines transport ultra-heavy crude oil from the Alberta tar sands of Canada (sometimes called the oil sands). This oil is substantially dirtier and more expensive than the oil Americans have used in the past.

The Alberta tar sands lie below an area the size of Michigan, covered with a healthy boreal forest full of wildlife.

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 were 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 declared that pipelines are the “safest” way to transport petroleum products, but tar sands pipelines, with only a decade long history, 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 were still unable to return to their homes after a month has passed.

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.

Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance opposed 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.

Categories: Environmental Issues

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