here is no shortage of messaging from Big Oil trumpeting efforts to green “the Patch,” which is the euphemistic term applied to Alberta’s tar sands mine and melt sites.
They underplay the carbon impacts of what has been termed “the dirtiest oil on the planet” and trot out fancy technologies and plans that have yet to be put into action at industrial scale. And while there is a rosy picture painted for us Stateside, the business pages in Canada tend to lay bare the galling details of tar sands infrastructure pretty openly. There’s a great example of this from the Globe & Mail’s excellent reporter Nathan VanderKlippe.
Alberta has just put new pollution caps in place and despite all the nice talk of cleaning up the tar sands, industry is bucking up against them. Here’s the assessment that comes out of Shell’s filings for their proposed new Jackpine mine in which they basically say, “our mine isn’t so bad, but if things continue in tar sands land at the current rate, it may get ugly!” A few choice tidbits from the G&M:
“Now, however, the Shell report projects that if the industry continues on its current course, it will run past annual limits on sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the area studied. Those substances contribute to acid rain, and the projection suggests Alberta will be forced to confront whether it is willing to act in the name of the environment, or move the yardsticks to preserve its bedrock industry.…