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Alberta oil Sands
Transcript of Alberta oil Sands
Located in Western Canada, Alberta is a province rich with a beautiful environment, abundant natural resources, a strong economy and a stable political system. Oil sands are located in three major areas in northeast Alberta underlying 140,200 square kilometres. The three major areas are, Peace river deposit, Athabasca deposit, Cold lake deposit.
Located in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the City of Fort McMurray is the largest urban community serving the Athabasca oil sands region of northeast Alberta.
Oil sands currently affects the jobs of 112,000 people across Canada. This allows for people to support their families.
Tar sands production has led to multiple social issues throughout Alberta, from housing crises to the vast expansion of temporary foreign worker programs.
About 10 per cent of the oil sands workforce is Aboriginal.
Alberta's oil sands reserves are developed by private enterprise and regulated by independent agencies.
Oil sands development benefits all Canadians through employment opportunities as well as generating taxes that help pay for government services and programs.
Alberta exports of goods rose by about 50 per cent from 2002 to 2012 to $95 billion, which includes almost $68 billion in energy exports.
121,500 people were employed in Alberta's upstream energy sector, which includes oil sands, conventional oil and gas, and mining.
Alberta oil Sands
By: Matt Young and Denise Dionisio
Alberta has 17 cities that had a cumulative population of 2,458,748 people.
Towns are heavily populated, however where the oil sands are located has no residential anywhere.
Method of transportation for oil sands
Pipelines operate all day, everyday with the help of powerful pumps, additives that move the oil with less resistance, and the laws of physics.
The Cold Lake pipeline system is the largest transporter of Cold Lake area bitumen production.
Issues regarding Alberta oil Sands
1) Pollution of water - oil sands are very close to Athabasca River, Peace River & their drainage basins.
2) Aboriginal communities affected by water contamination.
3) Boreal forests destroyed and Rapid increase of extracting natural resources too fast
Millions of gallons of water is diverted from the Athabasca River to tar sands opertaion each day. Most of the water ends up as waste in toxic ponds near the river's banks.
Nearly a dozen tailing ponds line both sides of the Athabasca river and are a serious threat to the entire river basin.
Many are already leaking and creating their own contaminated wetlands. Fish, birds and other wildlife face death from swimming in or drinking from the ponds.
The Canadian Association has discovered that of the 25 chemicals found in every tailing pond and studied by the U.S. environmental Protection Agency, 14 are human carcinogens. According to Environmental Defense Canada, the ponds are leaking over 11 million littres a day of contaminated water into the environment, which is equivalent to over 4 billion litters a year.
Tailing ponds contaminating waters
Most of the tar sands are found under boreal forest, including 37 per cent that is part of Alberta’s Boreal Forest Natural Region. The Natural Region includes internationally significant wilderness areas such as the Peace-Athabasca Delta.
Once the Athabasca River leaves the oil sands area, it flows along the eastern edge of Wood Buffalo National Park and into the Peace-Athabasca Delta. This is the largest boreal delta in the world and one of the most important waterfowl staging and nest- ing areas in North America.
The development of oil sands mining leases will result in the clearing of 300,000 hectares of Boreal Forest and constructing 30,000 km of roads, leaving 80% of the remaining Boreal Forest within 250m of a road, pipeline or well site.
Some aboriginal people living in the oil sands region fear potential health impacts and have concerns about environmental impacts of oil sands development.An estimated 23,000 aboriginal people live in Alberta's oil sands areas.
The tailing ponds which surround the Athabascan river, contain a mixture of water, sand, clay and residual oil , that is left over after oil sands processing. This continuously spills and seeps into the river which is not only used by oil sand industries but it is also used by aboriginals and serves as a home for a large variety of fish species. These toxins in the river are poisonous to humans and the wildlife living in them. Aboriginal people are becoming sick and dying because they use this river at a major fresh water source.
Issues regarding Aboriginals
Alberta is working with Aboriginal communities to conduct studies, collect data and monitor changes in the environment. Alberta has agreed to build the most comprehensive environmental program in Canada. A new environmental monitoring agency will focus on what is monitored, how it's monitored and where it's monitored to understand the effects and the environmental change, while coordinating monitoring of land, air, water and biodiversity.Involvement in the Oil Sands Industry
Aboriginal people are benefiting from oil sands projects. In 2010, there were more than 1,700 Aboriginal employees in permanent oil sands operations jobs in northeast Alberta. This number does not include construction related jobs.Many major oil sands companies have Aboriginal employment policies to recruit local residents. About 10 per cent of the oil sand workers are Aboriginal.From 1998 to 2010, Aboriginal owned companies secured over $5 billion worth of contracts from oil sands companies in the region
Boreal forest destroyed in these areas
Forcibly stripped bare and excavated
How do we solve these issues?
Boreal forest Reclamation
Information on tailing ponds
There are five major things that the oil sands companies need to do if they want to improve and protect the environment and the beneficial factor is that all five are achievable, not all that expensive, and all use already existing technology.’
Carbon capture and storage
Dry tailings instead of wet
Reducing the overall water usage of the plants
Clamping down on the level of acidifying emissions
Establishing large areas of boreal forest that are off limits