A long way from Colorado, far back in Ontario Canada, there’s an area called Kawartha Lakes. It’s basically a semi rural farming area dotted with little towns and lakes, great fishing in the summer, and it’s where I was born and raised. My home town was called Bobcaygeon. It used to have a population of eight hundred or so and swelled to quite a few more in the summer tourist season. Down the road about fifteen miles, there was another picturesque little place called Omemee Ontario. You can gather from the sound of these names that they’re pretty heavily influenced by the local Indian populations. Once again, Omemee is just a wide spot in the road with a population around thirteen hundred where another kid with wild music dreams grew up. His name is Neal Young. We’ve never met although I would certainly welcome the opportunity and as far as I know, our musical pathways have never crossed.
It seems a little odd to me that we’ve gone all these many years and many miles without meeting, and in some ways our music tastes are miles apart. Yet, in listening to his music and all the articles I’ve read, there are areas where he and I are in total agreement and could not be more aligned. One of them is our mutual distaste for what is taking place in northern Alberta and the development of the Canadian Tar Sands.
The Alberta Tar Sands is one of the largest oil deposits in the world. According to some, it runs third behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Where it is number one though, is that it is the most highly acidic, toxic goop you could ever pull out of the ground and it’s toxicity is the stuff legends are made of.
Because of its physical makeup, Tar Sand soil has to be “cooked” in order to liquify the tar and separate if from the sand. This is done by forcing super heated steam into the ground to soften up and “liquify” the tar. Part of the fruit of this is that warm air rises and “acid rain” results. This is nature at it’s deadliest and it can devastate the environment for thousands of square miles. The result of the “cooking” is a huge 7500 square mile area with increased levels of mercury contamination and underground oil leaks which as yet can not be stopped and are contaminating the soil, the water, the wildlife, and everything in between. Indeed, the contamination has polluted the lakes and killed migrating birds. It has also run off the caribou herds and any other wildlife that could escape which means that the whole area has become one super large “deadzone.” So much for my memories of “The Great White North!”
A week ago I wondered aloud why so many politicians were all for this Keystone Pipeline project when it appears to be nothing more than a monster health hazard for anyone who gets near it. A little reading brought some answers. Probably not all, but enough to get you started. Here’s a little something from Bloomberg.
“Giant oil companies across the United States are currently investing in Canada’s tar sands as part of their role in the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Alberta all the way to Texas. The pipeline would double imports of tar sands oil into the United States and transport it to refineries on the Gulf Coast and ports for international export. The oil sands industry itself is undergoing a major expansion, powered by $19 billion a year in investments, according to Bloomberg News”.
$19 billion? Well, that might be part of your answer! Politicians who are bought and paid for by big oil and don’t give a damn about your health or mine or the environment, are the same ones supporting this boondoggle! They have sold their souls to the highest bidder and that bidder happens to be big OIL.
No wonder the Lakota Sioux tribe says “No way” to Keystone. They’ve figured it out and got it right! Bless their hearts for it!
Meanwhile, Canada, the land that gave Neal Young and me our start, goes from being the wonderful pristine, uncorrupted land that we knew as kids, into a greasy brown wreck and one of the dirtiest, most contaminated places on earth. They did it all for the sake of their Precious Poison, OIL.
Please send me your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and use them if I can.
Thanks and have a great week everybody.