Environment

Utah, next stop for tar sands oil extraction?

tar_sands_before_after

wilden profile largeby Wilden Wulle

People have begun a grassroots, fight aimed at stopping a newly proposed strip-mining operation in eastern Utah. Tar sands are planned to be mined and processed to generate oil but extracting oil from tar sands is much more complex than conventional oil recovery. The group Utah Tar Sands Resistance plans to put up a fight that would stop the development of tar sands oil extraction in Utah.

Whats wrong with tar sands? Tar sands oil extraction is a disastrous and relatively new way to bring even more damage and misery to our planet. Tar sands (also referred to as oil sands) are a combination of clay, sand, water, and bitumen (a heavy, black, viscous oil.)

The capitalist system which is rooted in the exploitation of workers and the environment compels corporations to constantly seek out a profit. The oil corporations are anxiously licking their chops at the rising sales price of crude oil, and the prospect of tar-sands-based oil is commercially attractive to the capitalists and their puppets on Capitol Hill.

The oil sands mining processes includes extracting and separating the bitumen from the clay, sand and water that make up the tar sands. Because bitumen is so thick it requires additional work before it can be refined. And bitumen needs to be diluted with horrible, cancer-causing, light-weight-hydrocarbons, like benzene and toluene to make it transportable by pipelines. The refining of bitumen consumes far more oil and energy than conventional oil and released almost twice as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

An enormous amount — two tons — of tar sands must be ripped from the earth merely to produce just one messy barrel of oil. After the oil is extracted, the oil companies plan to dump the spent sand and other toxic-waste on site, turning the once pristine environment into not only an eye-sore but also a threat to public health. Significant amounts of radio-active Uranium are present in Utah tar sands and could be released into the air by the refining process which would take place just north of the metropolitan Salt Lake City area.

The mining and processing of tar sands involves a variety of devastating and permanent environmental impacts, such as global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. There are significant social and economic impacts tied to tar sands oil extractions and these are impacts that will burden and endanger not only the environment but working people.

The western United States are relatively arid and tar sands requires massive amounts of water just to process a minimal amount of oil. On top of that, tar sands extraction could leech pollution and hazardous minerals into local rivers such as the White, Green and Colorado Rivers. This is especially troubling because nearly 30 million people consume water which flows from of the Colorado river.

Tar sands oil extraction is wasteful, messy and dangerous. Stop Tar Sands Now!

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