October 25, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A new study has detected air pollutants, including carcinogens, in areas downwind of Canada's main fossil fuel hub in Alberta at levels rivaling those of major metropolises such as Beijing and Mexico City. The study by researchers from UC Irvine and the University of Michigan also found a high incidence of blood cancers such as leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among men in the area, compared with the rest of Alberta and Canada. "When you get cancers that can be caused by the carcinogens we are seeing, that is reason for concern," said Isobel J. Simpson, a lead author of the study and a researcher at UC Irvine's chemistry department.
October 21, 2013 |
FORT CHIPEWYAN, Canada - In the Cree language, the word "athabasca" means "a place where grass is everywhere. " Here in Alberta, the Athabasca River slices through forests of spruce and birch before spilling into a vast freshwater delta and Lake Athabasca. But 100 miles upstream, the boreal forest has been peeled back by enormous strip mines, where massive shovels pick up 100 tons of earth at a time and dump it into yellow trucks as big as houses. The tarry bitumen that is extracted is eventually shipped to refineries, many in the United States, to be processed into gasoline, diesel and other fuels.
August 7, 2013 |
SEATTLE - On a narrow central Idaho highway coursing through thickets of ponderosa pines and along a winding river, members of the Nez Perce tribe made their stand. Hundreds gathered along U.S. Highway 12 on Monday and Tuesday and formed a human blockade in an attempt to stop a controversial megaload of equipment bound for the oil tar sands of Alberta, Canada - a load reportedly weighing about 644,000 pounds and stretching over 200 feet. They intended on continuing their protests Wednesday and Thursday nights.
April 22, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday criticized the State Department's environmental impact review of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying there was not enough evidence to back up key conclusions on gas emissions, safety and alternative routes. In a letter to top State Department officials, the agency said it had "environmental objections" to their review, which concluded the pipeline would have minimal impact on the environment. The analysis could complicate efforts to win approval for the controversial $7-billion project.
April 6, 2013 |
This year President Obama will decide whether to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. Few environmental issues in recent years have engendered so much passion and debate. The pipeline would facilitate the transportation of a particularly thick type of oil, oil sands crude, from Canada to U.S. ports. What is oil sands crude? It is a tar-like substance containing bitumen, extracted from the boreal forests of western Canada by strip mining.
April 4, 2013 |
In March, the State Department gave the president cover to open a big spigot that will hitch our country to one of the dirtiest fuels on Earth for 40 years or more. The draft environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline acknowledges tar sands are nasty stuff for the environment, but concludes that the project is OK because this oil will get to market anyway - with or without a pipeline. A public comment period is underway through April 22, after which the department will prepare a final statement to help the administration decide whether the pipeline is in the "national interest.