1.Impacts of tar sands on wildlife, water and communities in Canada. 2.Potential impacts along the pipeline right of way and at the refinery. 3.Implications for America’s energy future and climate change.
What are tar sands? Tar sands are a mixture of sand, silt, clay, water and bitumen. Bitumen is separated from the rest of the substrate through an energy and water- intensive process. Suncor Energy Inc.
Alberta’s tar sands are the second largest petroleum reserve in the world – 170 billion barrels They are concentrated in 3 deposits that underlie an area of over 54,000 square miles – approximately the size of Florida. Over 32,000 square miles or 60% of this area has been leased for extraction through surface mining or in situ techniques.
Impacts at the Refinery Tar sands are higher in sulfur, nitrogen, and trace metals than conventional oil. More pollution in communities surround the refineries that the pipeline would service. AP
Implications for America’s Energy Future and Climate Change Lock in a high-carbon fuel supply far into the future and encourage expansion of the tar sands. Undermine U.S. efforts to transition to a clean energy economy. Send the wrong signal to the global community about U.S. leadership on climate change.
GHG Emissions On a well-to-tank basis, emissions from Canadian tar sands crude would be about 82% greater than conventional crude. At 900,000 bpd, well to tank emissions from the project would be 27 MMtCO2e. Equivalent to emissions from 7 coal-fired power plants. EPA Comments on Keystone XL DEIS
“The tar sands of Canada constitute one of our planet’s greatest threats.” James Hansen