The Environmental Cost of Alberta's Oil Boom

Extracting the hundreds of billions of barrels of recoverable oil trapped in the sands of northern Alberta will have a huge environmental price tag.
October 20, 2005, 6am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"As popularity of oil sands grows in Canada, so do concerns over environmental damage from mining and processing the material. Enormous amounts of natural gas and water are used to extract and upgrade the crude, greenhouse gas emissions are high, and in mining operations, environmentalists worry that the land -- which companies are required to restore -- may never quite bounce back. The process also turns vast amounts of water into a mixture too toxic to return to bodies of water, forcing companies to create large lake-like impoundments.

"'We're dealing with a form of oil extraction where the intensity of environmental impacts is at an order of magnitude greater than any other form of oil extraction we have seen on the planet,' said Dan Woynillowicz, an environmental policy analyst with the Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development."

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Published on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 in The Boston Globe
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