Tar sands

The Problem with Tar Sands

The tar sands are growing out of control, destroying the climate for all Canadians and poisoning the water of everyone living downstream. And it is more then climate and water – the land, animals, and air are also impacted.

Huge open pit mines destroy the land. Oil companies clear the trees, drain the water from the muskeg, and dig up the earth to get at the tar sands oil.  In some locations the oil is too deep to access by digging so oil companies inject steam beneath the surface to melt the oil and then it is pumped to the surface.

Oil companies use as much water as a major city of which ninety-five per cent  is polluted and has to be stored in toxic sludge pits that cover 176 square kilometres. An estimated 11 million litres of toxic wastewater leaks into the Athabasca River every day.

Excessive air pollution contributes to acid rain and emits significant amounts of heavy metals and other toxic pollutants that end up in the lakes and river.

Tar sands production emits three to four times more greenhouse gases as conventional oil. This is why tar sands oil is called dirty oil. If Canada expands the tar sands as planned, we will be on a trajectory to 6 degree temperature increase.

Find out about other impacts of the tar sands by visiting: Oil Sands Reality Check.