19 August 2015

#13 Painting It Black

Probably nothing symbolizes the Harper government more than the massive tar sands development in northern Alberta (has it spilled into Saskatchewan yet?). I know they don't want us to call it “tar sands”, but “oil sands”, or maybe “that pretty impressionist painting on the northern landscape that fuels our cars and lines our pockets”.

What it really is is a monument to short-sightedness. They have onned our economic fortunes on a single extraction industry — all the eggs in one basket — and done nothing to develop transformative industry around it. The celebrated (or bemoaned) Keystone XL pipeline project was all about shipping this stuff raw down to Texas to be refined into something useable. So they can sell it back to us? Now, with the downturn in oil prices, this rather expensive method of extracting oil from sand is looking a little less lucrative. And the lack of diversity in the Alberta economy means that the province rides the roller coaster along with the price of oil.

The other aspect of the short-sightedness of this is the environmental impact it is having and is likely to continue to have. On a continent (in a world, really) of increasing drought problems, massive amounts of water are used to steam the petroleum out of the sand in which it sits, and carbon fills the skies. Good thing there is no climate change, right Steve?

Further reading here

That's not “Texas tea”
you're steaming from the sand and
you, sir, are no Jed

(with a nod to the Beverly Hillbillies)

No comments: