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Athabasca Oil Sands
Transcript of Athabasca Oil Sands
The Athabasca Oil Sands
What are the Athabasca Oil Sands?
The Athabasca oil sands are large deposits of bitumen or extremely heavy crude oil.
It is located in northeastern Alberta, Canada. These oil sand deposits lie under 141,000 square km of the Boreal Forest.
Why is it an issue?
It is an issue because it has a negative impact on the:
- Human Settlement
It started producing oil in 1967.
It is operated by Syncrude, Suncor, CNRL, Shell, Total, Imperial Oil, Petro Canada, Devon, Husky, Statoil, Nexen.
It's purpose is to mine oil and make profit.
What can we do to address these issues?
The pollutants produced from the oil sands can cause acid rain, damaging the environment.
Global Warming and Climate Change can be accelerated as the oil that is produced from the oil sands will release greenhouse gas emissions. The sands have tripled its emissions in the last two decades, it is becoming the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
The Athabasca Oil Sands releases large amounts of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants into the air.
These oil sands consist of a mixture of crude bitumen silica sand, clay minerals, and water.
It is known as the largest reservoir of crude bitumen in the world and is also the largest of three major oil sands deposits in Alberta.
The water used by the oil sands are not usually replaced into the natural water cycle because of the toxic chemicals when they are used, they are stored in tailing ponds.
The water used for mining is often taken from the Athabasca River.
The oil sands used approximately 170 million cubic meters of water in 2011, equivalent to the residential water use of 1.7 million Canadians.
The Athabasca River may not be able to support the demands and usage of the oil sands and could damage aquatic ecosystems in the river.
Hundreds to thousands of birds die each year due to tailing ponds.
•Extraction of the oil is destroying habitable land and polluting them with toxins making it dangerous for people to live in therefore citizens are complaining and moving to different areas
•Some had been forced out of the area due to the project since open pit mining destroys large amount of land and creates a lot of pollution due to the explosions
•People living near the area are trying to protect their land by complaining to the government about further advancement on the project
•Very few people live in the area and it’s sparsely populated, the large open pit mines are causing it to be deserted
•Fort McMurray, nearest city from the oil sand, is also sparsely populated and is struggling to provide for some citizens
Open Pit Mines
Do not waste fuel and energy so we can reduce the need for oil.
Establish air emission limits to prevent degradation of ambient air.
Area near the Oil Sands
The marine life is affected because of the pollutants in the water.
Houses in the Area
In the next 30-40 years, 3,000 square km of the Boreal Forest will be stripped mined. This means that a good chunk of the Boreal forest, which is the home of nearly half of the 580 wildlife species in Alberta, would be destroyed .
The fishes that drink the polluted water also consume the chemicals, and so it harms the marine life.
The government is also monitoring the air, groundwater, and surface water to prevent unnecessary chemical spills or issues that can harm the environment.
Reduce the amount of oil extracted.
Raise awareness of the issues of oil sands.
Use safer and more efficient methods to extract oil without damaging the environment too much.
The Athabasca Oil Sands creates negative impacts on the environment, wildlife, and the human settlement. It creates water and air pollution, destroys the habitat and damages the wildlife, and is dangerous to human health/settlement. If this issue isn’t addressed, it will cause more damage for the future generations.
A Tailings Pond
Athabasca Oil Sands Upgraders
"These tar sands. There are some environmental questions about how destructive they are, potentially, what are the dangers there and we've got to examine all those questions,"
President Barrack Obama, 2011
"We [Fort Chipewyan] are at the receiving end of every bit of pollution that goes into the river [Athabsca River]."
Pat Mercel, Elder of Fort Chipewyan
"Tar Island Pond One [tailings pond] leaks 67 litres of toxic tailings water per second to the Athabasca River"
Dr. Kevin Timoney, Ecologist
"Bitumen production releases twice as much air pollution as conventional oil"
"The Mildred Lake Settling Basin is where hundreds of ducks died landing in the tailings pond in 2010"
Pamela Roth, Edmonton Sun
“The oil sands represent a very important resource for this country.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper