Essay on The Athabasca Oil Sands By The Alberta Tar Sands

1207 Words Jul 15th, 2015 null Page
The Athabasca oil sands, more commonly known as the Alberta tar sands, are large deposits of heavy crude oil in the North Easterly reaches of Alberta. According to Alberta Energy, the oil sands are the third largest crude oil reserves in the world. Only two countries, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, possess reserves greater than Canada (Alberta Energy, 2012). Arguably, the capital gained from exporting Athabasca bitumen or crude oil (a form of petroleum) promotes job and economic growth, and also contributes royalties toward Albertan education and healthcare. On the other hand, the growing reliance on the Athabasca oil sands makes the Canadian economy incredibly susceptible to collapses in global oil prices. Furthermore, the region immediately surrounding the tar sands is prone to human-induced environmental catastrophe.
Recently, the Athabasca oil sands exacerbated problems surrounding contaminated water and indigenous populations’ availability to clean drinking water. The Athabasca River runs directly through primary oil sites. Because of the location, unsustainable extraction and refining practices contaminate a major source of life for indigenous populations living nearest to the river. Because of these practices, toxic chemicals pollute ground water that seeps into the Athabasca River (CBC, 2014). Furthermore, according to a Greenpeace “Watershed Report” (2010), current tar sand projects remove about 370 million cubic meters of water each year, nearly twice the annual…

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