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The truth about the Alberta Oil Sands


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The truth about the Alberta Oil Sands


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These videos were not independently created and their bias is obvious. These clips must be taken with a grain of salt.


HOWEVER. That being said, I do believe the environmental impact of oil sand processing have been exaggerated to a certain extent and I do support Canada's decision to tap into oil sand resources.


I'd be even more happy if we decided to really invest in Nuclear, Wind, Solar and Hydro power though....

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But they weren't made by an oil company... they were made by the government of the Province of Alberta, the promised land, fortis et liber :D


notably from their website, http://www.oilsands.alberta.ca .


The "environmenteurs" are really crazy about the Alberta sands, saying all kinds of BS. There is no reason to have "pollution" from sands development, furthermore serious incidents like spills are basically impossible by design. Deepwater Horizon? If a pipe bursts in the oilsands, you just turn off the pressure you are pushing on the other side :D And they always say "tar sands" despite the deposit having nothing to do with tar... (in French they say "sables bitumineux" which is really the correct term).


They complain about mining and tailings ponds, but then won't tell you that about 90% of the projects developed in the past 10 years or so are in-situ and have no mining or tailings. :rotfl:


Then there was the doctor who said the guys in Fort Chip were getting rare cancers, then it turned out they didn't have them and the Alberta College of Physicians got mad at the Maritimer "doctor"... You can say the oil industry is biased, maybe even Alberta government, but it is pretty obvious the College of Physicians has only the public health as a priority and couldn't care less about any industry... (well aside from health care!)


It is like the seal hunt where they always put pictures of someone clubbing a whitecoat seal. It has been illegal in Canada to hunt a whitecoat seal since 1987! But always the picture is a cute white baby seal and not the nasty ugly old grey seal. And clubbing is the only humane way to turn them off because of the thick flesh...



I'd be even more happy if we decided to really invest in Nuclear, Wind, Solar and Hydro power though....


Or the obvious solution, put a nuclear plant in Fort McMoney and split the steam to the turbines for electricity and divert some direct to the bitumen extraction, then use the natural gas exclusively for hydrogenation upgrading of the stock and stop coking (not everyone cokes, but some do). But with natural gas prices the way they are this would never make economic sense.... but it has been talked about (especially during the 2004-2008 craziness).

Edited by Cyrus
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Oilsands 'acceptably clean': U.S. senator



Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss (left), South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and North Carolina Democratic Senator Kay Hagan arrived at an Edmonton hotel Thursday night. (CBC)


A U.S. senator is rejecting the 'dirty oil' tag pegged on Alberta's oilsands by some environmentalists, saying that label should instead be applied to some oil sources in the Mideast.


"That's one of the myths being perpetrated,” said South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who along with two other senators, spent Friday visiting some of the oilsands operations in northern Alberta. "It's oil I feel very comfortable Americans consuming."


Graham said the oil is secure and comes from a reliable neighbour, adding that a lot of the money the U.S. gives Canada to buy its oil comes back to America in trade.


"Dirty oil and dangerous oil come from rogue regimes in the Mideast. The oil coming from Alberta in my view is not only acceptably clean, it is safe," Graham told CBC News. "Dirty to me would be oil that you buy from parts of the world where the people that sell it to you hate your guts and part of the money winds up in the hands of terrorists."


Environmentalists in the U.S. have been campaigning against Alberta's oilsands, launching ads this summer urging Americans to reconsider any vacation plans to the province. The Sierra Club has also launched a lawsuit against the U.S Defence Department for contracting for fuel from Canada's oilsands, claming it's a violation of the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.


Graham said he and Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss and North Carolina Democratic Senator Kay Hagan got an aerial and inside view of the mining sites. He said from the air, the sites look like little blips surrounded by nature, but that once inside the operation looks huge.


"I'm seeing first-hand the place that provides America more oil than Saudi Arabia and Iran combined," Graham said. "I'm seeing reclaimed areas that used to be mined that looked pretty much like the natural landscape."


Senators will also visit Saskatchewan


Graham said he believes environmental concerns are being taken seriously but that he wants to hear both sides of the story.


“The main reason I'm here is to be able to say I've come to the oilsands. I've seen it myself. I've seen how small a footprint the mining is.”


Chambliss said he's also impressed with the technology and the way the land is reclaimed once the oil in the Fort McMurray region is extracted.


He said he didn't talk to environmentalists or aboriginal people who live downstream from the oilsands but that officials were "open and honest" about environmental and health-related issues surrounding the massive operations.


Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, who acted as tour guide, said afterward that he was very pleased.


"The comments from the senators were very positive," Stelmach said. "It was a good learning experience, when you see for yourself, as opposed to picking it up in some reading material. And it was a day well spent."


The trio will meet Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall in Saskatoon on Saturday.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/09/17/senators-oilsands-tour.html#ixzz0zu8xGCdS

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Oilsands critics drive business to Saudis: Levant




By Andy Johnson, CTV.ca News


Date: Sunday Sep. 19, 2010 2:29 PM ET


Firebrand conservative Ezra Levant's new book, Ethical Oil, is a defence of what many consider to be Canada's indefensible environmental black eye: the oilsands.


Though it may seem like the kind of battle no one would willingly choose to fight -- defending giant corporations for an oil industry that scars the land, kills migratory birds and pollutes rivers -- Levant says it was a no-brainer.


Yes our oil industry has its problems, says the founder of the Western Standard, but compared with the alternatives -- Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan and Nigeria to name a few -- Canada's oil is greener, more economical and more socially beneficial.


And by bashing the oilsands, he argues, groups like Greenpeace are actually driving business to dictatorships and countries with abysmal records on human rights and the environment.


"If I was arguing against a perfect alternative, obviously I would fail but that's not the real world. The real world is if Joe American in New York City doesn't fill his car with Canadian oil he will fill it with oil from somewhere else," Levant tells CTV.ca in an interview.


The book begins by outlining the arguments against Alberta's oilsands. The entire first chapter, in fact, reads like a manifesto against the industry, a laundry list of cons that has the reader double-checking the author's name on the front of the book.


Open pit mines, massive tailing ponds that will kill millions of birds, deformed fish and poisoned rivers that have eliminated an essential food source for the First Nations population -- all these are outlined in the opening chapter, painting a grim picture of a horrible industry.


Then Levant abruptly changes tack.


"Wow," he writes. "The oil sands are embarrassing. Not just for Albertans but for anyone in Canada who cares about the environment, or Aboriginal rights, or our international reputation.


"Except it's not true. Every single fact in the preceding pages is false. Every one of them."


In defense of the oil sands


From that point on, Levant works to dismantle all the arguments against the oilsands that he has just listed, while promoting his belief that Canada's oil is better for the environment, and for our collective conscience, than almost anything else out there.


"I think that the falsehoods about the oilsands have been repeated so often that people assume they are true. I have to tell you even I believed some of those lies because where would I hear otherwise?" Levant says.


"As I did actual research for the book I came upon facts that contradicted that official narrative and it made me realize that official story was actually fiction created by oilsands critics, some of whom have an agenda of their own."


Levant said his book isn't targeted at the hardcore environmentalists. Their minds won't likely be changed, he admits. Instead his target audience is "well meaning people who read the news and care about the world and probably come from a liberal point of view."


"I'm a conservative but I want to take liberals on at face value."


He does this by measuring the alternatives to Canadian oil by four yardsticks: Environmentalism, peace and terror, economic justice and treatment of minorities.


When compared using that criteria, the options are pretty bleak, he said. Of the 10 countries with the world's largest oil reserves, in fact, Canada is the only liberal democracy other than the fledgling and fragile Iraq.


There's Saudi Arabia, where women's rights are virtually nonexistent, homosexuals can be executed and the oil is harvested by foreign workers in near slave-like conditions.


Iran's record on women and worker's rights isn't much better, and they've got ambitions to be a nuclear superpower and a history of tension with the United Nations.


Then there's Sudan and Nigeria, where the environment isn't really a factor in decision-making when it comes to oil, schools and hospitals are a distant dream for many, and massacres and ethnic cleansing are often government-sponsored.


Russia and Venezuela have their own list of problems, Levant writes. Moscow uses most of its oil revenue to build its military arsenal. And in Venezuela under dictator Hugo Chavez, free speech is virtually non-existent and opposition to the oil industry and its environmental practices is essentially unheard of for fear of reprisals.

Easy target


The problem, Levant argues, is that Greenpeace doesn't have the will or the means to tackle the oil issues in most of these places. Their oil data isn't publicly available or doesn't exist, journalists are afraid to cover environmental or social abuses, and activists could be thrown into jail or worse. It's just too dangerous.


Canada, by comparison, is an easy target, with shareholder's meetings, public data, full disclosure when mistakes are made and a charter that enshrines freedom of speech. Quite simply, Greenpeace can protest here, so it does.


But what the activists don't realize, Levant says, is that by driving customers away from Canada's oil, they are forcing them to seek a much worse alternative.


In the book he uses the Example of Talisman Energy, a Canadian oil company working in Sudan, to make the point. Talisman was part owner in a Sudan oil operation along with China, Sudan and Malaysia in the late 90s and 2000s.


The Calgary-based company built hospitals, clinics, dug wells, subsidized farmland in Sudan and pressured Khartoum to improve its human rights record, all while the government was carrying out massive abuses of its people.


But just by being there, Talisman became such a target for Western activist groups and the Canadian and U.S. governments, that they eventually gave up and sold their stake in the lucrative project.


Levant writes: "The last, big, socially conscious Western company was hounded out of Sudan. And at precisely the same time, Sudan's ethnic cleansing of Darfur began in earnest."


Though it's a dramatic example, Levant uses it to illustrate the effect that massive protests against Canada's oilsands, could have.


Moving forward


He points out that great strides have been made in the oilsands and that surprisingly, only 2 per cent of the area -- which is admittedly the size of Florida -- comprises open pit mines.


"You don't see that in Greenpeace fundraisers because they go for what I call ‘oilsands porn,' these big ugly shots of open mines and tailing ponds because that raises money," Levant said.


The majority of the area, he said, consists of "critters frolicking" and trees.


That might be an overly rosy picture of a massive industrial area, but Levant says the stats show Canada's oilsands are improving. For example, the amount of emissions required to produce one barrel of oil from the oilsands is now 38 per cent lower than it was 20 years ago.


And emissions from the oilsands now amount to 5 per cent of Canada's total -- admittedly a lot -- but less than the emissions from Canada's combined cattle and pig farms.


The bottom line, Levant said, is not that Canada's oil is perfect. Like any major industry there is pollution and there are side effects. But it's the best option for an oil-thirsty world with no better alternative.


"The number one thing we have to do is to stop pretending the alternative is dilithium crystals or some sci-fi fantasy. It's not, it's Saudi oil," Levant said.


"And so I would like my friends on the other side of the debate to spend a little bit of time acknowledging what the alternatives are."


Edited by MTLskyline
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Peter Foster: Ethical oil


Oil sands opponents are motivated by anti-capitalist, anti-development ideology and organizational self-interest

An Alberta government delegation came east this week to sell the embattled oilsands as a good news story for all of Canada. The Pembina Institute took a group of Athabasca aboriginals to Washington to claim that they were being poisoned.


One of the frustrations of observing the oilsands “debate” is how one-sided it is. The Albertan government officials couldn’t stop apologizing for how much harder they had to work — like the carthorse in Animal Farm — to be more “sustainable.” Their opponents — who never created a productive job in their lives — continued to unload factual garbage by the dump truck, to be faithfully served up by the media.


Given this reluctance to fight, it is uncertain how far the defenders of the oil sands will welcome the uncompromising support of Ezra Levant. Mr. Levant is an intellectual bulldog, as the Canadian human rights establishment discovered to its cost. He is also sometimes a loose cannon (he recently managed to libel the appalling George Soros, which takes some doing), but not here. In his new book, Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands, he not only exposes the lies and hypocrisy of the media-coddled opponents of the vast resource, but raises the uncomfortable question of what alternatives to the oilsands these moralists prefer.


If the United States doesn’t take oil from the oilsands, it has to take it from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria or Iran, whose human rights records are appalling, and whose environmental performance tends not to be so great either.


Mr. Levant notes that the “facts” about the oil sands are comprehensively perverted. They are presented as laying waste to an area the size of Florida when in fact only 2% of that area will be disturbed by anti-photogenic strip mining (which has to be reclaimed). The development is portrayed as a gigantic sponge for fresh water when the maximum that it can divert from the Athabasca river is just 2.2% of its flow. “Dirty” oilsands oil is declared to be a threat to the global climate when it is responsible for one-thousandth of global human emissions of CO2, which in turn are a small part of overall emissions. The oilsands are painted as destroyers of aboriginal culture when in fact they provide hope, and well-paid jobs, for desperately poor, often dysfunctional, communities.


Mr. Levant goes after the NGO peddlers of doom and gloom — from Pembina through Greenpeace and church group Kairos to the World Wildlife Fund — suggesting that they are motivated by a combination of anti-capitalist, anti-development ideology and organizational self-interest. He lacerates those who purport to rank businesses on “ethical” grounds while profiting from the very activities they condemn. He skewers craven U.S. corporations such as Whole Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond because when they cave in to environmental extremists in supporting boycotts, they are of necessity supporting fascist theocracies and Bolivarian despots.


Mr. Levant suggests that Greenpeace’s priorities are severely skewed by organizational self-interest. They treat the truly horrendous environmental problems of China with kid gloves because Beijing allows them to raise funds in the country, which they see as a huge “market.” While Chinese cities are the unhealthiest places to live on earth, Greenpeace China’s top campaign issues are recycled Western cellphones and disposable chopsticks!


Mr. Levant emphasizes that petroleum-driven industrial society isn’t going away any time soon, and stresses that such “alternatives” as wind and solar are in fact heavily subsidized job destroyers. He suggests that the oilsands get so much flak primarily because Canada is a free, open and democratic country.


The book raises questions that demand not so much further analysis as psychoanalysis. These include just why people would manufacture egregious falsehoods about the oilsands, and why the media would be so ready and willing to regurgitate them. Perhaps the outstanding example is that of Canadian Dr. John O’Connor and his claims about extraordinary high levels of certain types of cancers at Fort Chipewyan. Dr. O’Connor was made a media hero, in particular by Canadian journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, but when authorities sought to investigate the doctor’s findings, he obstructed the inquiry, which found that he had either greatly exaggerated, or entirely manufactured, details.


Mr. Levant points out that Mr. Nikiforuk has taken money from Greenpeace, but it is perhaps a mistake to imply that the likes of Messrs. Nikiforuk and O’Connor are not genuinely motivated by a desire to prevent harm and do good. The problem is that such desires seem to be like mental viruses that sometimes occupy the brain to the exclusion of all objective evidence, and consume their hosts with moral self-inflation and a demonic image of “the enemy.”


Mr. Levant has certainly already raised the ire of his opponents. Police had to be called to a book signing in Saskatoon. Matt Price, policy director of Environmental Defence, wrote to The Globe and Mail: ‘So Ezra Levant thinks it’s somehow more ethical to replace dictator-supporting, planet-cooking oil with dictator-free tar sands oil that cooks the planet even faster?”


Last week the CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi held a “debate” between Mr. Levant and Mr. Nikiforuk. Mr. Levant steamrollered both of them (it inevitably turned out to be two against one). I could almost have felt sorry for Mr. Nikiforuk if he hadn’t started out by suggesting that oil was either “The Devil’s tears” or “The Devil’s Excrement.” With imagery like that, you know that objectivity has already gone out the window. Ethical Oil provides some desperately needed perspective.



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