Where Does the Oil Come From?
The Keystone I and Keystone XL pipelines would transport ultra-heavy crude oil from the Alberta tar sands of Canada (sometimes called the oil sands). This oil is substantially dirtier and more expensive than the oil Americans have used in the past.
The Alberta tar sands lie below an area the size of Michigan, covered with a healthy boreal forest full of wildlife. (Photo below courtesy of Oil Sands Watch.)
The photo below shows what happens to the forest when tar sands are mined. (Photo courtesy of Oil Sands Watch.)
The waste materials leftover from producing the tar sands crude oil are stored in enormous tailings ponds. (Photo courtesy of Oil Sands Watch.)
The water in the tailings ponds becomes highly polluted. In April 2008, 1,600 waterfowl died when they landed on a tailings pond.
Because tar sands oil is so expensive to produce, it is only profitable for producers when oil prices are relatively high, and therefore will not result in cheap gasoline.
Becoming more dependent on dirty, expensive tar sands oil will delay our transition to a safe, clean energy economy.
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