Solid Waste & Recycling


The Realities of the Alberta Oil Sands

The media spin is always interesting. With my fourteen years experience on the Adams Mine Landfill debatle behind me, I look back on the thousands of newspaper headlines I read every morning.
Often, depending on the political leaning each publication has, the headlines are different. Such was the case last week regarding the release of the 900 page U.S. State Department draft environmental impact statement on Trans-Canada Corporation’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
A few publications focused on a statement in the report that suggested if all impacts from the wellhead to the car exhaust pipe were factored in, oil sands crude has greater greenhouse-gas-emissions in the range of 17% percent. As many people only skim the headlines in newspapers, and rarely read the total content of any article, this statement, taken in isolation, would seem damaging.
The reality is very different.
A headline in the Report on Business Section of the Globe and Mail got it right. It stated; “U.S. sets course to approve Keystone pipeline”, with a subheading saying; “State Department rejects arguments against project; cites growing need for secure crude oil supplies”. The reporter, Shawn McCarthy, read the entire report and provided this balanced view.
A comment in a special guest column today in the Toronto Sun by David Wilkins, the former U.S. Ambassador to Canada from 2005-2009, also provides a realistic political view. He stated; “there could not be a more relevant time for Americans to be focusing on the economic, environment and strategic advantage of Canadian oil.”
And here is the key indicator that approval is coming. If you have been through as many environmental processes as I have, you will recognize the hidden signals. If governments want to delay projects they use the old, “we need more time to consult with the public” smokescreen. Well, read the tea leaves, as part of the final Keystone XL pipeline decision making process, the time frame to comment on the draft document has been reduced to 45 days, a huge reduction from the normal 120 day period. Environmental groups are screaming, but reality is setting in. As Mr. Wilkins also said; “The U.S. could not hope for a better, more reliable and responsible partner and the president [President Obama] should salute this unwaveringly and without conditions.”
That pipeline approval is coming, you can bet the farm on it!!!
TRASHED! How Political Garbage Made the United States Canada’s Largest Dump

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