By Letter to the Editor on February 24, 2020.
We are dealing with the biggest oil spill in the world, yet everybody is against cleaning it up. Why?
It is dirty oil. The tarsands of the western provinces of Canada are the biggest natural oil spill in the world. Other than the Los Angeles Tar Pits, and a site here or there around the world, there is no oil found naturally on the surface. The Athabasca tarsands is the largest oil deposit on the Earth, larger than the Arabian oil deposits. The problem here is that they are on and near the surface.
A bigger problem arises when we look at where they are and what is happening. The Athabasca River flows through the deposit, into Lake Athabasca, then on with the river system into Great Slave Lake. From there the Mackenzie River takes the leached oil all the way into the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk. Since the time of the deposit, it has slowly been leaking oil into the river system. People asked about the pollution of the Athabasca River in the 1960s. The first efforts to extract oil from the deposits were started a few years after, at great expense, because the oil extracted cost more than the price on the market. The province was forced to support the effort.
It will take a long time and a lot of mines to extract and clean all of the oil deposit. When you consider the task, the oil extraction plants are reclaiming nature’s blotch on the world. If the world can use it, we should be happy to get it out of there, because in a time when oil becomes a product unwanted, we need to move and store it.
Moab, Utah had a uranium mine. The tailings were dumped in a pile next to the Colorado River. Over the years the radioactive material leached into the river pollution the Colorado all the way to Mexico. That was a tiny pile of tailings, costing the U.S. government $125 million to move. The tarsands cover a huge area. Should the oil be extracted, or should it all be moved to a dry are, like the Palliser triangle, at a pricetag of trillions?
The actual reclaimed areas behind the mines are showing better growth. What does it take to clean up the Earth’s mistakes?