Tar Sands Mercury

Tar Sands Mercury

This needs looking into. It appears to be similar in many ways to U.S. concerns over fracking. Of course, the Canadian government has promised an energy bonanza if the sands are developed, a claim becoming more dubious over time. I don’t believe that government will take any action that would endanger the development. So, there will have to be a reliance on private research to reveal what’s happening.

What are the business ethics here? It seems to me that we can have energy and clean air and water. If we can’t we need to have a discussion about what kind of priorities this society has. What we have now is the kind of closed political discussion associated with vast industry profits and a contempt for democracy. If we can’t breath and the water is contaminated, it may well happen before any effective action can take place.

James Pilant

Researchers find 7,300-sq-mile ring of mercury around tar sands in Canada | Al Jazeera America

Scientists have found a more than 7,300-square-mile ring of land and water contaminated by mercury surrounding the tar sands in Alberta, where energy companies are producing oil and shipping it throughout Canada and the U.S.

Government scientists are preparing to publish a report that found levels of mercury are up to 16 times higher around the tar-sand operations — principally due to the excavation and transportation of bitumen in the sands by oil and gas companies, according to Postmedia-owned Canadian newspapers like The Vancouver Sun.

Environment Canada researcher Jane Kirk recently presented the findings at a toxicology conference in Nashville, Tenn.

The revelations add to growing concerns over the environmental impact of mining the tar sands. Many environmentalists charge that extracting oil from the sands will lead to an increase in carbon emissions, the destruction of the land, water contamination and health problems for Canadians. The debate over the tar sands crossed over into the United States when energy company TransCanada proposed building the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil to the southeastern U.S. for refining and distribution.

via Researchers find 7,300-sq-mile ring of mercury around tar sands in Canada | Al Jazeera America.