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Month: July 2013

Leave it in the Ground, pt 3


Extracting tar sands oil is no easy feat.  One method involves injecting super-heated steam under high pressure deep into the ground to liquefy the hardened tar so it can be extracted.  Only sometimes this results in a blowout and the toxic bitumen starts oozing out in unexpected places – like beaver ponds and lakes and forests.  And the best part is,

“This is a new kind of oil spill and there is no ‘off button,’ ” said Keith Stewart, an energy analyst with Greenpeace who teaches a course on energy policy and environment at the University of Toronto. “You can’t cap it like a conventional oil well or turn off a valve on a pipeline.

“You are pressurizing the oil bed so hard that it’s no wonder that it blows out. This means that the oil will continue to leak until the well is no longer pressurized,” which means the bitumen could be seeping from the ground for months.

And would you believe that the media and photographers are being kept away from these blowout sites and that government scientists are afraid to speak out about them?

No one knows how to stop these tar-sands oil spills | Grist.
‘Nobody understands’ spills at Alberta oil sands operation | Toronto Star.