By Kenny Bruno
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Sometime around July 4th, Secretary Clinton is expected to review a permit that has implications for US independence‚Äîenergy independence. This “Presidential Permit” would be granted for a giant pipeline from Alberta to Wisonsin, which would carry synthetic crude oil from the Canadian tar sands. Because of a dubious executive order, issued by Lyndon Johnson, the Secretary of State can approve this pipeline if she finds that it is in the national interest. It’s not.
This pipeline is the latest piece of infrastructure in a planned network of pipelines and refineries that will lock the US into a high carbon fossil fuel infrastructure for decades. This is the antithesis of the new energy economy that President Obama envisions. It’s a permit for relying on the dirtiest oil on earth.
And while Big Oil and the Canadian Government hope Hillary rubber stamps the project, concerned moms, Native Americans, ranchers, steelworkers, farmers, scientists, doctors and environmentalists sincerely hope that she understands the magnitude of her decision and denies the permit.
The dangers of Canada's tar sands, also known as oil sands, are well-documented: The abbreviated formula for making oil from the tar sands goes as follows:
- Destroy a forest larger than the state of Florida.
- Strip mine the area, down hundreds of feet, or
- Shoot steam into deep holes and suck the softened bitumen out.
- Take vast quantities of fresh, clean water from a nearby river, typically four gallons of water for just a gallon of crude.
- Utilize billion of cubic feet of relatively clean natural gas to produce this dirty oil
- Permanently store the toxic waste left over in a vast lake that you can see from outer space.
- Dig up two tons of earth to make a single 42-gallon barrel of oil.
- Release 3-5 times the amount of carbon during production as you would for conventional oil.
National Geographic recently devoted 18-pages to showcase their vast environmental destruction; Dr. James Hansen, of NASA the world's leading climate scientists is incredulous that Canada's Oil Sands expansion is even being contemplated, saying this would be, "Disastrous for life on our planet."
Big Oil and the Canadian Government are intent on building a unified dirty oil infrastructure system to ensure a market for tar sands oil. The Alberta Clipper pipeline, while massive, is only one part of this bigger project. So far, despite its massive size and impacts on states throughout the West and Midwest, it has never been viewed as a whole from a national perspective; instead, it's been left up to local jurisdictions to review pipeline by pipeline, refinery by refinery, permit by permit. Secretary Clinton has a chance to look at the entire project known as the tar sands. I think when she does, she’ll see that it’s not in our national interest. In fact, it’s a bit insane.