Sierra Club Starts ‘Faces of Tar Sands’ Campaign

The Sierra Club will launch a new campaign against the use of tar sands oil imported from Canada, the same kind of thick crude that was flowing through Enbridge’s Lakehead 6B pipeline when it burst in July and spewed a million gallons into the Kalamazoo River. The campaign is called “Faces of Tar Sands” and is designed to put a human face on the dangers of tar sands oil by telling personal stories of those affected by it, including three people from Michigan. The three Michigan residents all live near the Marathon Oil refinery in Detroit, which is undergoing an expansion to allow it to process more tar sands crude. Refining such crude is more difficult and more polluting than regular crude because it is much thicker and contain higher amounts of heavy metals. The group’s website makes the case against tar sands oil: Tar sands oil is mined from a black sticky substance called bitumen, found beneath the vast boreal forest in Alberta, Canada. To extract tar sands crude, oil companies clear-cut ancient forest, then strip mine the soil beneath it, using huge quantities of fresh water and natural gas to separate the oil from bitumen. The process leaves behind giant toxic lakes that are linked to abnormally high rates of cancer in neighboring communities and are large enough to be seen from space. But it doesn’t stop there. The oil industry is expanding facilities to process this toxic oil here in the United States through a network of refineries and pipelines. Public health in several states is under threat from dramatic increases in refining pollution, and massive pipelines are planned to cross the United States’ largest freshwater aquifer, which supplies one-third of our nation’s agriculture. Communities in Alberta have long been speaking out about the damage tar sands poses to their health through water and air pollution. Now, Americans from Minnesota to Houston are worried about Canada’s tar sands expansion poisoning their water, destroying their farmland, and contaminating their air. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton is expected to approve the building of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Houston soon, but environmentalists are pressing the issue and trying to prevent that from happening. ((18 NOV 2010))

http://michiganmessenger.com/43958/sierra-club-starts-faces-of-tar-sands-campaign

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