Actually, the largest industrial project in the world is the Jubail city project in Saudi Arabia, which is more than 250,000 acres, employs 140,000 workers and includes petrochemical and other industrial plants, a harbor and port, its own highway system and full telecommunications capabilities.
Lush needs to get their facts straight. But then, why let facts get in the way of your crusade? Oh, but there’s more! The Lush article goes on to say –
“Many foreign oil companies are aggressively extracting bitumen (a black, tar-like substance) from the sands which is then turned into crude oil. In the process, it’s creating serious social, economic and environmental problems for North America.”
Well, here’s a list of key companies involved in the Alberta oil sands project –
- Suncor Energy (Canadian)
- Imperial Oil Ltd. (Canadian)
- Husky Energy, Ltd. (Canadian)
- Cenovus Energy Inc. (Canadian)
- Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (Canadian)
- Encana Corporation (Canadian)
- Talisman Energy Inc. (Canadian – now owned by Spanish Repsol)
As you can see, seven of the ten companies are Canadian owned and operated (Talisman Energy was also Canadian until it was purchased by Repsol in 2015). So seven of the ten companies listed above are Canadian, not foreign as the Lush article indicates, and the number three could hardly be considered ‘many.’ It should also be noted that this list is in order of size of involvement, and the foreign companies are at the bottom of the list.
And how is it creating serious social, economic and environmental problems for North America? This is nothing but empty fear-mongering. The oil industry in Alberta employs thousands and puts more money into the Canadian economy that almost any other. Yes, Canadian, not just the Alberta economy. And as far as environmental problems go, keep reading.
The Lush article went on to call it the ‘Canadian Tar Sands.’ The industry has never referred to the project as the tar sands. Only environmental groups brand it with that tag, because it makes it sound dirty, and furthers their agenda that the project is harmful to the environment. Then the article says –
“…an inevitable (pipeline) rupture puts our land, water and livelihoods at serious risk.”
Inevitable? How do they know there will be an inevitable rupture? Does Lush have a crystal ball? The article adds –
“…Enbridge averages one oil spill a week.”
But what they neglect to say is that a recent Frasier Institute study stated that –
“…73 per cent of pipeline occurrences result in spills of less than 1m3 and 16 per cent of occurrences result in no spill whatsoever. The vast majority of pipeline occurrences—more than 80 per cent—also don’t occur in the actual line pipe. Rather they happen in facilities that are more likely to have secondary containment mechanisms and procedures. But perhaps the most telling statistic regarding pipeline safety is that 99 per cent of pipeline occurrences from 2003 to 2013 didn’t damage the environment.”
Why doesn’t the Lush article provide this information? Once again, we can't have those nasty facts contradicting our rhetoric, now can we? They also claim in the article that the Keystone XL pipeline will threaten the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska. However, Nebraska state geologist Matt Joeckel stated –
“There are a lot of people who are under the misconception that if there were a spill in the pipeline, it would contaminate a very large volume of the aquifer in short order. That is not physically possible.”
He goes on to say –
“Nebraska has one of the best public records of subsurface geology in the U.S., making it easier to identify high-risk areas to avoid and lower-risk areas that the pipeline might be routed through. In 2011, TransCanada changed the planned route of the Keystone XL line to avoid Nebraska's Sand Hills region in the western part of the state, an ecologically sensitive area where the water table is particularly high and runs directly below sand dune formations in many areas, a combination that could be particularly vulnerable to spills… Contaminating an entire aquifer over the area of an entire county by a single pipeline that is being maintained properly and the hazards of which are being mitigated correctly during a civilizational time scale — that is, hundreds of years — is very unlikely…”
The oil companies spend billions of dollars in oil spill cleanups. Notice I said the oil companies. Not the government. Not taxpayers. The oil companies themselves foot the bill for oil spill cleanups. And they must follow strict governmental guidelines to unsure there is no lasting residual effects of each spill. And while I’m on the topic of restoration, once the bitumen has been extracted from the Alberta oil sands, more millions are spent to restore the landscape to its original pristine state. You can fly over areas where the extraction process has been completed, and not be able to tell that anything had been done at all. In a report by Natural Resources Canada, 100 percent of land must be reclaimed. The report states –
“Oil sands development is subject to environmental standards that are among the most stringent in the world. The Government of Alberta requires that companies remediate and reclaim 100 percent of the land after the oil sands have been extracted. Reclamation means that land is returned to a self-sustaining ecosystem with local vegetation and wildlife. Long before the landscape is touched by development, comprehensive assessments identify potential environmental impacts, such as those affecting land, air, water and biodiversity. Steps are then taken during the life of a project to minimize any negative effects. Oil sands companies must file a Conservation and Reclamation Plan as part of their initial project application, keep it current, and post financial security bonds for reclamation. The provincial government ensures that all oil sands companies fulfill their legal obligation to reclaim the land.”
Keep in mind that Canada produces 2% of global GHG emissions, and the Alberta oil sands project only produces 10% of Canada’s GHG emissions. That’s 0.2% globally, folks. China produces 30%, the United States, 15%. The EU, 9%, India, 7%. So in terms of effect on the environment, the Alberta oil sands project is at the bottom of the scale as far as emissions are concerned.
In this article, I’ve provided sources for all of my information, something the Lush article has failed to do. Instead, they’ve chosen to rely on the tired rhetoric and fear-mongering of the radical environmentalists. Don’t get me wrong, I wish we had an environmentally safe alternative to oil and gas, but until the military-industrial complex releases field propulsion technology to the general public, we’re stuck with the former. And last time I checked, you can’t mount a wind turbine on the top of your car.
And don’t get me started about electric cars. They cost more to operate than gas-powered vehicles, and if everyone switched to using electric cars, the power grid couldn’t handle the increased demand for electrical energy. A B.C. Hydro executive put it this way –
“If you really intend to adopt electric vehicles, you have to face certain realities. For example, a home charging system for a Tesla requires 75 amp service. The average house is equipped with 100 amp service (which means if you owned a Tesla, you would have to have a 175 amp service). On our small street (approximately 25 homes), the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than 3 houses with a single Tesla each. For even half the homes to have electric vehicles, the system would be wildly over-loaded.”
And now to my final point. I would like to do a survey of all Lush employees to see how they get to and from their workplace, not to mention everywhere else they travel. I’m sure the survey would show that the majority either drive a car or take a bus. Where do they think the fuel for those vehicles comes from? It’s oil and gas that keeps those cars and buses on the road. I think it’s a bit hypocritical to criticize the Alberta oil sands project, which supplies that oil and gas for the car you drive or the bus you take on a daily basis. And unless you’re going to sell your car and walk, travel solely by bicycle or buy a horse, it’s a bit like biting the hand that feeds you.
And for those out there who want to see oil and gas eliminated from our society, then perhaps you should watch this video -