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Oil Sands

October 25, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee
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.
July 13, 2011 | Neela Banerjee
At a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania in early April, President Obama was asked about a bitter fight between industry and environmentalists over a proposed $7-billion, 2,000-mile pipeline to ship crude from Alberta's oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries. Because the pipeline crosses the U.S.-Canadian border, a decision on a permit is pending at the State Department. Obama avowed neutrality: "If it looks like I'm putting my fingers on the scale before the science is done, then people may question the merits of the decision later on. " But a 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa suggests the scale may have already been tipped.
August 26, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee
The State Department has concluded that the highly controversial proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline would not have “significant impacts” on the environment, removing a major barrier to the construction of a $7-billion project that would ship oil sands crude oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. The State Department's findings, part of the final environmental impact statement for Keystone XL, were hailed by the oil industry and sharply criticized by environmentalists. Though other pipelines from Canada have sailed through the government approval process with little reaction from industry or environmentalists, Keystone XL has become a fraught issue in Washington and the Midwest, and it threatens to become a significant political liability for President Obama, whatever the outcome.  The final environmental impact statement is not the last word on the project.
November 10, 2011 | By Paul Richter and James Oliphant
The State Department said Thursday that it will delay consideration of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to study alternative routes, addressing what it termed were environmental concerns about a posssible path through Nebraska's Sand Hills region. The extended review will push the approval process to early 2013 - past next year's presidential election. President Obama quickly issued a statement in support of the decision. “Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood,” Obama said.
November 6, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
The Obama administration is considering a move that could delay a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline by requiring sponsors to reduce the project's environmental risks before it can be approved, according to people with knowledge of the deliberations. The step might put off a decision until after the 2012 election and be a way for the White House to at least temporarily avoid antagonizing either the unions that support the pipeline or the environmental activists who oppose it as President Obama gears up for his campaign.
December 27, 2011 | By Dean Kuipers
The tar sand mines in Alberta, source of the oil that may one day flow all the way from Canada to Texas through the Keystone XL Pipeline, are growing by enormous leaps and bounds. This superb series of satellite pictures , brought to you by National Geographic , tells the whole story. When the first mine opened alongside the pristine Athabasca River in 1967, oil extracted from oil sands (also known as tar sands) was too expensive to compete with liquid crude. But now, with oil prices hovering at about $100 US per barrel, the costly and environmentally taxing process of pulling bitumen out of the clay mixture makes it economically feasible.
December 13, 2012
"Dilbit" - drop the word in casual conversation and listeners might think you're talking about the comic strip engineer who can't get a date. But dilbit actually stands for "diluted bitumen," a heretofore obscure oil industry term that may soon be trending on your search engine as controversy deepens over the Keystone XL pipeline, a project to carry oil from the Alberta tar sands to refineries in Texas that has become the nation's most contentious battle between conservative fossil fuel backers and liberal environmentalists.
August 27, 2011 | Neela Banerjee
The proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast would not have "significant impacts" on the environment, the State Department has concluded, removing a major barrier to construction of the $7-billion project. The 1,700-mile-long pipeline has been a contentious issue in part because the oil would be extracted from oil sands in Alberta. Oil sands are an unconventional source of crude oil that needs to be mined from the earth, which environmentalists say would lead to the pollution of waterways and the destruction of vast stretches of Alberta's forests.
December 23, 2008 | PATRICK GOLDSTEIN
If you're a documentarian, you know that while it's a great honor to make the academy's shortlist for best documentary short, it's almost impossible to get anyone in the media to write about your movie, since they're almost totally obsessed with handicapping the ups and downs of the various actor and best picture races. But thanks to the Canadian government, in particular Alberta's minister of culture, Leslie Iwerks' documentary short "Downstream" has a shot at a little notoriety, which is just what a doc-short needs to steal a little attention from the endless speculation about Kate Winslet's Oscar chances.
November 25, 2005 | Chris Kraul and Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writers
Three years after President Hugo Chavez purged 20,000 employees from state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, the oil giant's production still hasn't recovered, but many who became part of a global diaspora of Venezuelan talent slowly are putting their lives and careers back together. Take oil engineer Lino Carrillo, who was general manager of new business development at Petroleos de Venezuela, known as PDVSA, when Chavez sacked half of the energy giant's employees.
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