Oil Sands, What is it, Why, and What it can do to the Environment?
Canada is the third-largest proven crude oil reserve in the world with 168 billion barrels. In Albert right now, the filthy process of obtaining oil from tar sands is being executed. This process affects everyone around it. The process is called ‘dirty’ because the process itself wastes water, uses chemicals to chemically separate the bitumen from the sand and requires a lot of water and energy. The oil sands help boost Canada's economy by giving more employment opportunities, GDP per capita, and GDP.
The Oil Sands deposits are located in three locations: The Peace River, the Cold River and the Athabasca areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The future of the Oil Sands production is mainly going towards helping the environment by trapping carbon dioxide before it gets released into the atmosphere, making the production costs less costly by using other cheaper methods to extract the bitumen, expanding the tar sands and faster production speed. Forecasters predict that oil production will increase from 1.9 million barrels per day in 2012 to 3.8 million barrels per day in 2022, which may in an influence from these production improvements.
I am concerned because my group(Aboriginals)is affected by the oil sand deposits being near Fort Chipewyan, which brings many implications to the areas around it, especially the Athabasca River, our main source of water we once thought was clean enough to drink. My group is affected because their sources of clean water and food sources, and health are put to risk.
The concerns of my group, the residents of Fort Chipewyan(Aboriginals)are that the rate of contracting cancer is higher than expected, and the chance of having rare cancer is becoming more common. Another concern among my people is that the tailing pond leakage is getting into our source of water, not only contaminating it, but poisoning the wildlife that drink it, and the fish that swim in it, which means that our sources of clean drinking water and food at risk of causing cancer. This issue has become a problem because the government is not accepting that the oil sands are the cause of this complication, mainly because the oil sands help Canada in many areas, such as helping employ people and increase our GDP.
Solutions can be made in order to counter the contamination of water and wildlife. One solution that would definitely help would be to make groundwater yield more secure so tailing water doesn't leak into the Athabasca River, or to remove tailing ponds entirely and find a more productive and a more secure and viable way to store contaminated water. Another solution would be to set a maximum level of development so that conditions don't continue to get worse the more oil sand deposits they create. An additional solution would be to completely remove the oil sands as of now, or continue their development elsewhere, where it would not bear problems to people.
In conclusion, the oil sands help Canada's economy in many ways, but it bears too many implications in terms of clean water, wildlife, and well being of people.