Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

"Canadian tar sands needed"-- Keystone Pipeline (N Dakota)

Canadian oil sands needed

Sep 14, 2008 - 04:05:23 CDT

As a North Dakota geologist, I find the environmentalists’ opposition to U.S. use of Canadian oil sands and the Keystone pipeline narrow-minded and self-serving.

The public interest in ensuring America’s energy security requires that we use Canada’s oil sands. Second in size only to Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves, the oil sands hold an estimated 173 billion barrels of oil.

U.S. imports of crude from oil sands (about 1 million barrels a day) are projected to reach 3.5 million barrels by 2020. This is a secure source of petroleum brought to this country, in part by the Keystone Pipeline without the risk of military and political entanglements that have gotten our country bogged down in the Middle East. Environmentalists oppose the use of oil sands, claiming its emissions contribute to global warming.

At the urging of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, Congress passed legislation that bars U.S. governmental agencies from using products made from Canadian oil sands or liquefied coal. The U.S. Air Force has been trying to get Congress to rescind the ban.

In addition, the Dakota Resource Council, Dakota Rural Action, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have filed a lawsuit against the State Department over the Keystone pipeline project in eastern North Dakota. A number of groups are urging state agencies to deny air and water pollution permits for refineries that process oil sands-crude.

Canadian oil sands should not be considered a cure-all for our nation’s energy problems. But this resource can help the continuing decline in U.S. oil production. Congress still needs to expedite energy development on governmental lands in Alaska and 85 percent of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf that’s closed to drilling.

There is reason to be upbeat about the contribution of oil sands in bolstering U.S. energy security. It will help diversify our nation’s oil supply, regardless of what environmental opponents say, or do.


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