The Alberta Tar Sands Project is in the U.S. news a lot these days. As a U.S. citizen, I’m usually focused on the potential effects of the Keystone XL pipeline contaminating aquifers and soil. This TEDx video shows the effects on Canada. The Alberta Tar Sands is basically just a huge strip mine that goes on as far as the eye can see.
The scale is immense. To get the oil out of the tar sands, massive amounts of water is forced through the rock. The water is then put into tailings ponds. A 9000 acre tailings pond is not unusual there.
The tar sands mines drain into the Athabasca River, which carries toxins down the river. People are told not to eat the fish because they’re carcinogenic.
The talk is seventeen minutes long and very informative. The photos in Garth Lenz’s presentation are worth watching.
Athabasca River photo via Shutterstock