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Alberta Tar Sands In Canada Essay

2055 words - 8 pages

The reason for this report is to increase the reader’s knowledge on the Alberta Tar Sands, which will allow them to create their own opinions on the situation. It is a very pertinent issue in politics and will have a very large effect on the carbon emissions of Canada. Also, I wanted to further my understanding of the Alberta tar sands and learn the side effects of the tar sands. How the tar sands are different from other oil and energy procurement methods and which method is more energy efficient? Would the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States be an intelligent way for the US to involve itself in the tar sands? I wanted to answer these questions by knowing the real facts about the tar sands versus what the oil companies are telling the consumers. The ability to assess the entire situation will allow both the reader and I to formulate our own opinions about the tar sands and whether the extraction of oil at the tar sands should continue.

The Alberta tar sands have the second largest oil reserves in the entire world, only smaller than Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves. This vast supply of oil has created a large interest in the extraction and then production of different types of oil in Canada. The tar sands are believed to hold around 174.5 billion barrels of oil. The estimates are across the board but if it is true, the oil industry in Canada would become its largest export and substantially boost the economy. The tar sands were producing 53% of Canada’s oil output, but by the end of this year it will be around 83%. This number could increase to 99%, if the tar sands are fully taken advantage of. The extraction of oil has already begun and covers around 602 square kilometers of land. The problem is that the tar sands are situated under the boreal forest in Alberta. This area is very diverse and helps control the effects of climate change on Earth. The boreal forest would have to be cleared and then mining and other types of extraction have to occur. The effects of the Alberta Tar Sands are still being researched but there have been multiple groups that have found conclusive evidence that puts the tar sands at risk of closure. There are many pollutants that are released into the air during the extracting and processing of the tar. The effects of the tar sands can be found in the high content of carcinogens and pollutants that can be found in the air. This leads to many types of diseases and other effects. Additionally, the wildlife is affected by the loss of habitat and the deadly pollutants alter the health of many animals. The tar sands and the tailing ponds disturb the bird’s migration as well. These examples are just some of the many problems with the tar sands.
Initially, I wanted to research some general information about the tar sands and how they operate. I watched a video by Garth Lenz on the effects and the methods of extracting the tar from the ground. This gave me an initial overview of how the tar sands...

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