For several months
, bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands has been leaching out of the ground
near Cold Lake, Alberta
, so far amounting to roughly half of the oil leaked in the Enbridge-caused disaster
in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Nearby sites of high-pressure steam injection used to extract the bitumen (and which is already associated with violent seismic activity in natural gas fracking operations) are suspected to have caused fractures that push bitumen "sideways" and out to the surface. As Vice
reporter Sarah Berman notes, "The oozing leaks will continue until the underground pressure subsides. How long that will take is anybody’s guess.
" While tons of contaminated vegetation and dead animals have been removed from the sites, access to the region and to government data by First Nation representatives has been repeatedly denied
Charles C. Mann writes for The Atlantic
This perspective has a corollary: natural resources cannot be used up. If one deposit gets too expensive to drill, social scientists (most of them economists) say, people will either find cheaper deposits or shift to a different energy source altogether. Because the costliest stuff is left in the ground, there will always be petroleum to mine later. “When will the world’s supply of oil be exhausted?” asked the MIT economist Morris Adelman, perhaps the most important exponent of this view. “The best one-word answer: never.” Effectively, energy supplies are infinite. [more inside]
A series of emails released through a Freedom of Information Act request shine light on collusion between the United States government and TransCanada
, a corporation building a controversial pipeline from the Canadian Athabasca oil sands
into its southern neighbor. The controversy extends beyond the currently poor safety record
for delivering oil between the two countries, and beyond the environmental and health consequences
of the oil extraction process for locals and the cost of climate changes
it will contribute to, all the way to legal wrangling between Canadian media and Saudi Arabia
over the "death panels"-like term "ethical oil"
, based upon a conservative group's advertising
that argues that the purchase of Canadian-sourced oil is a morally superior act, because of oppression of women and human rights violations by the Saudi kingdom.
Scraping Bottom: The Canadian Oil Boom.
"Once considered too expensive, as well as too damaging to the land, exploitation of Alberta's oil sands
is now a gamble worth billions."
Ducks die a crude death.
) have a new emblem -- hundreds of ducks coated and killed in oily toxic sludge
. About 500 birds landed and died
in an oil sands pond. The pond full of toxic sludge sits along a major flight path for migrating waterfowl. [more inside]
Black Gold in Alberta.
The tar sands
located in northern Alberta, containing 85% of the worlds bitumen
could provide for america's oil needs for the next century. The trillion barrell oil pit
will continue to grow in importance as the price of oil continues to climb
, and investors from around the world pour billions of dollars into the rich dirt