Alberta Premier's "Mythical" Tar Sands Tour Attacked By Polar Bear – and a few facts

Alberta Premier's "Mythical" Tar Sands Tour Attacked By Polar Bear – and a few facts
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Stelmach in DC

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach was in Washington, DC today hyping his province’s vast reserves of oil-soaked tar sands.

Not everyone was applauding Stelmach, and rightly so.

According to news reports, Stelmach, “bemoaned what he termed the myth that the environmental cost of the oilsands is too high, saying calls from ‘some quarters’ to slow or stop production doesn’t make sense.”

Here’s a few of the supposedly “mythical” facts about the Alberta tar sands:

  • Tar Sands operations could eventually cover 149,000 square kilometers of pristine forest – that’s an area roughly the size of Florida. 
  • Each day the tar sands use 600 million cubic feet of natural gas to, in effect, melt the tarry sludge into a usable form – that’s enough natural gas to heat more than 3 million Canadian homes. 
  • Producing a barrel of oil from the tar sands produces three times more greenhouse gas than a barrel of conventional oil. 
  • Tar sands operations use about the same amount of freshwater in a year that the entire City of Calgary uses (population 1 million) – 90% of this freshwater ends up in toxic tailing ponds. 
  • Toxic tailing ponds already cover more than 50 square kilometers and are considered to be one of largest man-made structures in the world.

It appears that Premier Stelmach is living in his own little fantasy world.

I would suggest that instead of bird-dogging the Premier in a polar bear costume, a mythical beast like a unicorn or a minotaur might be a little more appropriate.

(High resolution event photos are attached. Credited to Oil Change International. Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington DC).

 

Alberta Premier's "Mythical" Tar Sands Tour Attacked By Polar Bear – and a few facts

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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