Oil derived from Canada's tar sands is considered some of the most toxic and destructive on earth. The price we all pay for this unconventional oil is too high to bear.
Once a pristine forest and watershed, the Athabasca River Valley in Alberta has been permanently damaged by the energy-intensive practice of squeezing oil out of sandy sludge beneath the forest. Elevated levels of rare cancers have appeared in communities downstream from the lakes of toxic wasteand downwind of toxic spewing smokestacksthat are required by the destructive tar sands industry. While large corporations reap incredible profits for this tarry gold, communities pay a staggering cost. If we don't stop the endless quest for more tar sands oil, the project, already visible from space, is projected to grow to the size of Florida.
Oil giant Enbridge corporation plans to punch two 1,170-kilometer (730 mile) pipelines from Alberta all the way to British Columbia's stunning and fragile coast. Not only do the proposed pipelines, called Northern Gateway, cross over 1,000 streams and rivers, it also leads to an even more dangerous end: the introduction of hundreds of supertankers to the rugged coastal waters of the Great Bear Rainforest.
What's the likelihood of an Enbridge spill?
"I know there'll be an accident, no ifs about it," said Sammy Robinson, Haisla First Nation Elder and carver, who resides in Kitamaat, BC where the tankers would depart.
"Can we promise there will never be an accident? No. Nobody can," said Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel.
Canada's western coast is legendary for its treacherous waters, which is why there have never been oil tankers there. If Enbridge has its way, that will all change, putting the world-renown Great Bear Rainforest at risk for catastrophic oil spills.
To phase out dirty fossil fuels, such as those from the tar sands, there must be a multifaceted, worldwide approach. Some aspects of this vision for a clean energy future include: reducing overall energy usage; phasing in clean, renewable energy; planning more sustainable communities and transportation systems; and building more efficient vehicles, appliances and buildings that run on clean energy.
The time to stop the accelerating development of the tar sands is now.