Don’t Let it Bring You Down, It’s Only TarSands Burning.

September 12, 2013

Charlie Pierce in Esquire:

The blog’s Second-Favorite Canadian is getting into it as regards our old friend, the Keystone XL pipeline, the proposed death funnel that is going to bisect the continent in order to bring the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel from the blasted moonscape of Alberta to the refineries of Texas, and thence to the world. Apparently, if you think this cancer juice is bad when it spills, you ought to see the places where they dig it up out of the ground. (A while back, our own John H. Richardson did and, well, wow.) Our Second Favorite Canadian pointed this out.

“Fort McMurray looks like Hiroshima. Fort McMurray is a wasteland,” said Young, 67, during a National Farmers Union conference. “The Indians up there and the native peoples are dying. The fuels all over – the fumes everywhere – you can smell it when you get to town,” he said.”People are sick. People are dying of cancer because of this. All the First Nations people up there are threatened by this. Their food supply is wasted, their treaties are no good. They have the right to live on the land, like they always did, but there’s no land left that they can live on. All the animals are dying.”

This is not sitting well with the mayor of the blasted moonscape her own self.

They are so extreme that they may very well be discounted by people who genuinely care about the state of the environment,” Blake said. “The community’s reaction is inevitably not happy, probably outraged, because it’s such a gross misrepresentation,” she added. Chris Byrne, a DJ at Fort McMurray radio station Rock 97.9, said they were starting a “No Neil” day and promoting the #notawasteland hashtag on Twitter. “We’re going to ask our listeners, ‘We’re not going to play Neil Young all day today, should we make this a permanent thing?’ If he doesn’t like us, then we may not like him.”

Well, that’s an end to his career, I guess. If you’ve lost Rock 97.9 in Fort McMurray, there’s not much point in going on. Meanwhile, the largely-in-the-bag Canadian government is taking a more modest approach.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said Tuesday that he was a fan of Young’s music. “But on this matter we disagree, because Keystone XL will displace heavy oil from Venezuela, which has the same or higher greenhouse gas emissions, with a stable and secure source of Canadian oil,” the minister said a short statement issued through from his office via email.

You will note that the minister’s statement doesn’t say fk-all about turning Alberta into a blasted moonscape, which was Young’s whole point. Anyway, we report, you decide.

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2 Responses to “Don’t Let it Bring You Down, It’s Only TarSands Burning.”

  1. Bruce Miller Says:

    Current technology woefully inadequate! This article the proof of that fact! Chinese reactors (cleaner by far) making heat for steam and judicial and timely application of same just might be cleaner, and possibly more profitable since the natural gas not burned in the process can be exported to China as Compressed Natural Gas at world prices? Can Canada make an end run around all the dirty politics, kick backs, arm twisting, corporate horse shit, to make this a reality? Can Canadians invent telemetry of pipelines that will make them virtually leak proof? As safe as an Indy 500 car? Above and far beyond so called “U.S. (Bullshit) Standards? Can Canadian Regulations (sorry Harper you are now out of the game – go count the bodies at Lac Megantic, are they your de-regulation babies? Not just the ONR?) Will a fresh start with an NDP government for the people by the people help us see a greater reality? Can we “cut a deal” with China? For Thorium LFTR reactors? Pebble bed gas reactors? CANDU reactors in the Tar Sands? Can Canada build a superior, safer, pipeline outside the realm of the current technologies, technologies designed by corporate interests to maximize profits, not safety, at all costs? Is there room here for a ‘Manhattan Project” Canadian government intervention for a West to East safe, sane and sensible pipeline? Can we regulate it so? Can we mandate it so? Why Yes! we can so!


    • The real irony is that CANDU could produce steam for SAGD with far less GHG emissions than any natural gas could.  If the diluent for transport was brought in from across the border, oil-sands bitumen could be produced for “minimal” GHG emissions and be officially “greener” than crude from the rest of the world (and scr*w the emissions from refining and consumption, which are Somebody Else’s Problem).


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