#5 The area around the oil sands is a toxic hellhole
So you’ll read the shocking fact that the air around Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan, Alberta — that is, oil sands “ground zero” — is literally hellish: it smells like sulphur. The water tastes terrible. Thick black goo bubbles up from the earth.
All true. But as native Albertan Ezra Levant reveals in his new book, Ethical Oil, the landscape has been like that for as long as recorded history. Old diaries reveal that early explorers to Canada noticed the same things. That’s because, well, there’s petroleum naturally percolating up under the earth, as it’s done for hundreds if not thousands of years.
The Indians never used to mind: they scooped up the thick tar and used it to weatherproof their canoes. (Today, some natives work for the oil industry and others campaign against it — either way, it’s a source of revenue.)
But today, Greenpeace and their colleagues want you to think Big Oil has raped another once-pristine landscape. That’s why National Geographic and leftwing fundraising brochures focus on the ugly pits left behind by the oil sands extraction process.
What they won’t tell you is that only 2% of the area has been mined in that admittedly hideous fashion. The rest of the oil is so deep underground that it is steamed and pumped out, just like it is all over the world.
“And,” as Levant notes, “even the 2 per cent that is mined will be reclaimed once the oil is pumped out — it’s the law in Alberta, and the first oil sands mine reclamation projects have already been certified. They’re gorgeous hiking trails now, with forests and pristine lakes.”
And when it comes to that new and mostly imaginary pollutant, CO2? The oil sands produce just 5% of the country’s greenhouse gases, less than the emissions from its cattle and pigs.