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ALBERTA’S DILEMMA

The province of Alberta Canada is leaking oil.

A long time ago when the tar sands were first discovered in northern Alberta, the problem wasn’t that the oil wasn’t there, it was how to get it out of the ground. The oil was a solid bitumen mixed with sand for miles and miles in the the frozen north and no sooner was it found than petroleum engineers everywhere put their thinking caps on to devise a method of making that solid into a liquid so they could put it in a pipeline, ship it somewhere and sell it!

After many tries and many misfires, it was decided to force steam at highly elevated temperatures into the ground to liquify the bitumen. This is a massive undertaking because you’re talking about a huge area with enough oil some say, to dwarf the holdings in many parts of the world. So…they set about making steam, using much of the available water in the whole frozen north, water from the glaciers, water from the rivers, water anywhere they could get it. They would section off an area, start cooking the ground and the bitumen and once it liquified, they’d pump it. The problem with this bitumen is that when you’ve finally pulled it out of the ground and made oil out of it, it’s not the nice stuff that JR Ewing and his brother Bobby used to drill on the TV show Dallas. This oil is extremely nasty. It’s heavy, it’s acidic, it stinks to high heaven and eats its way through damn near any pipeline metal ever made! Kind of like my grandson going through a tuna fish sandwich!

Here’s where the hitch comes in. They’ve heated things up enough that now, this sticky stuff has liquified and started to flow. Not into nice places like you might hope, but into fields and rivers and lakes and neighborhoods! It’s killing the wildlife and the forests and the birds and the problem is, the people responsible, so far don’t have a clue about getting it stopped. If ever there was a case of the genie getting out of the bottle, this just might be it! I hope and pray that I’m wrong because this stuff is bad news and if it gets away from us, our whole environment might be at risk! Memories of the Exxon Valdez hang heavy in your mind. If you think about that times 10 or maybe a 100, that’s a problem we don’t need to live through twice! 

Another problem we have, is that oil is money, and politicians go to money like flies go to honey! Oil is also mucho political power and if the politicians in Canada resemble some of the politicians in the USA, the oil companies are free to do damn near anything they please and we’re almost powerless to stop them! I’m quite sure many of our super suntanned politicians either don’t know or couldn’t care less about this problem. The only time you’ll see a “bought and paid for” politician do right by his (or her) constituents, is when they’re up for reelection and they’re short a few votes, or they’re throwing themselves at the mercy of the people to get ’em off the hook for some kind of weird sexual peccadillo!

I know this blog sounds alarmist but I want everyone to be aware of this when the Keystone Pipeline proposal comes around again. I only hope and pray that our President has enough support and backing to oppose it. Enbridge Inc. is a Canadian pipeline contractor that has already had a major spill in Yellowstone Montana. Another of their pipelines carrying tar sands oil burst in Kalamazoo Michigan. Now the water is compromised and 30 miles of river might have to be dredged. The latest episode is an Exxon Mobil failure in Mayflower Arkansas. These have all been kept relatively hush hush, and should be a clue to all of us that they don’t know a hell of a lot more about handling this problem than we do! My vote is this, until we know more, CAUTION! CAUTION! BAD STUFF AHEAD!

As usual, send me your critiques and comments. I’ll try to use them if I can.

Thanks again,
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 8/14/2013 3:35 AM

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