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The Horrifying Effects of a Canadian Tar Sands Oil Spill

OilPrice.com -- Part of the US’s attempts to secure energy independence involves increasing the imports from friendly neighbours such as Canada. This has led to a large number of new pipelines spreading out across America in preparation for the increase in tars sands deliveries.

With more pipelines comes the risk of more spills, and Canada’s tar sands do not produce conventional crude oil. It is thick, sticky and full of sand and other materials that are used in the extraction techniques.

Little is known about how tar sands crude will behave after a spill, or whether its density and the fact that it contains sand will cause unknown wear on the pipes. Scientists are only just researching this, and still have little idea of what to expect.


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Submitted Aug 21, 2012 By: NOTSOGRN
Category: Daily News Article Discussions > Topics Add to favorite topics  
Author Topic: The Horrifying Effects of a Canadian Tar Sands Oil Spill Back to Topics
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honda0105
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Aug 26, 2012 6:27:50 AM

Wolfman, too bad that there aren't more people who think along the lines of what you posted.
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teafortwo
Champion Author Washington

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Message Posted: Aug 25, 2012 1:04:06 AM


Excellent comments Wolfman TJack from Twin Cities.

For those of you that prefer to stick your head in the sand, and like to pretend that all of the tarsands mess will somehow magically clean itself up?

You may want to practice holding your breath and repeating the phrase "Why didn't anyone warn me?".

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honda0105
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Aug 24, 2012 11:12:30 PM

OilPrice.com piece... hmmmm.
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GOBUTLER
Champion Author Indianapolis

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Message Posted: Aug 22, 2012 9:27:55 PM

Interesting...
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Stevedog
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Aug 22, 2012 3:43:22 PM

Not horrifying for Michigan but then we have our own problems
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tomok
Champion Author Portland

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Message Posted: Aug 22, 2012 4:20:20 AM

No Oil or Fuel Spill of any kind is wanted and certainly Not A Bitumen Tar Sands Crude Oil Spill, the worst possible kind! Thick, Sticky, Toxic and smelling very strong – Not good for people, the environment or animals!
Controls, Maintenance, Surveillance can lessen the potential for a spill but it will Not prevent a spill. Build refineries near the source of dangerous crude oil production and transport the refined products instead. A quick spill response is very important!
Whatever the size or shape of the vehicle, Produce and ‘Drive’ vehicles with high MPG, are very safe, reliable, have a ‘reasonable’ cost and a good ‘value’ for the money.
The price of fuel at the pump is too high!
12/22/2012!
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Wolfman_TJack
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Aug 22, 2012 12:07:02 AM

That would be bad enough if oil companies did a good job of maintaining and monitoring these pipeline systems -- but they do not. All of the most significant spills over the last two years were discovered not by the oil companies, but by ordinary citizens. The new report documents how prior to the Michigan spill, Enbridge conducted an "integrity management assessment" with an ultrasonic in-line inspection device. The disastrous spill happened anyway. The same is true of other companies whose pipelines ruptured.

Given the environmental and health consequences of the Enbridge spill, as well as the millions of dollars still being spent to clean it up, Michigan Representative Fred Upton's position on the subject is puzzling at best. After the Kalamazoo spill occurred in his district, he did cosponsor a bill that would hold companies accountable for reporting incidents. But since then, he's come out in support of rebuilding the Enbridge pipeline and constructing even more pipelines, including Keystone XL. Given the inevitability of more spills, Upton is apparently willing to put the health and home of his constituents at risk, for dubious benefits. In a recent interview, Upton claims his constituents will be protected from gasoline price spikes "with the expansion and rebuilding to a number of refineries here." It seems he's forgotten that the Keystone XL pipeline will transport tar sands crude to refineries in Texas for export overseas, making it unlikely that anyone in his district will benefit.

Frequent tar sands spills and their devastating effects in places like Michigan make it clear that by continuing to develop tar sands we're not taking a risk that we will poison our water and land -- we're ensuring it. And all for oil that we don't really need.

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Wolfman_TJack
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Aug 22, 2012 12:06:28 AM

Tar sand spills prove even more toxic and difficult to clean up than typical oil spills. That's because the heavy mixture of oil sand sinks in water, which means that tactics like skimming the surface can't be used. Instead, remediators must try to recover the oil from the bottoms of rivers, reservoirs, or wherever it has spilled -- a far more difficult task. Tar sands already contain high concentrations of heavy metals, and chemical diluents mixed in for transport are also known to be carcinogenic. EPA lab tests following a December 2011 oil leak in Colorado found concentrations of cancer-causing benzene as high as 2,000 parts per billion in the creek where the leak occurred -- well above the 5 ppb national drinking water standard.

This would be bad enough if such spills were rare occurrences -- but they're not. In the past few months alone, three separate tar sands pipelines have reported spills in Canada. Enbridge Inc., whose pipe leaked into the Kalamazoo, reported a spill of 1,450 barrels of oil-sand crude in eastern Alberta during the month of June, while two other companies cited spills of 3,000 and 5,000 barrels respectively, the former into a reservoir used by a nearby small town.

And Canadian tar sands spills are not limited to Canada. Since May 2011, three major tar sands spills have occurred in North Dakota, Montana, and Colorado. The North Dakota spill was the twelfth from TransCanada's Keystone I pipeline during its first year of operation.

Why are tar sands pipes so accident prone? To pass through the pipelines, tar sands must be brought to extreme temperatures and pressures. Add sand and powerful chemicals to this equation, and you've got a formula for corroding and rupturing steel pipes, leading to breaches that spill toxic goo into aquifers and rivers.
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Wolfman_TJack
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Aug 22, 2012 12:05:33 AM

We don't need tar-sands oil from Canada, yet Big Oil is determined to force it down our throats anyway -- or at least force us to let them pipe through our nation so they can export it abroad. And now we've got some pretty shocking evidence of just how high a price we could end up paying for their greed.

In 2010, more than 30 miles of the Kalamazoo River was transformed into an environmental disaster zone by a cracked tar sands pipeline and a tar sands pipeline company that neglected to turn off its pumps. Since then, a monumental $800 million cleanup effort has removed more than a million gallons of tar sands crude, along with 17 million gallons of polluted water, and 190,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris. June 2012, after two years, the EPA officially reopened the affected section of the river.

Now, though, a just-released in-depth report from Inside Climate News today shows that this massive cleanup effort was in fact a debacle -- a failure that reinforces the reputation of tar sands as the dirtiest oil on earth, exposes the weakness of regulatory oversight, and casts an ominous shadow across the thousands of rivers and streams that millions of Americans who live downstream of proposed tar sands pipelines depend on.
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crreed1
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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:15:24 PM

ok
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NASH
Champion Author Edmonton

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:13:41 PM

We cannot figure out why they want to ship sand-laden bitumen by pipeline. It can be upgraded to synthetic crude (basis of Mobile 1) but nobody wants to build a new up-grader. There is not enough capacity at the up-graders here now. Exxon/Esso backed off building one. How come? They tried pipe transport of bitumen a few years ago at one of the plants. Pipe lasted less than two years.
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METEOR49
Champion Author Ontario

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:12:35 PM

refine the oil at source , problem solved.
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pa79th
Champion Author Pennsylvania

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:11:03 PM

Duh! Build a filtration plant near the source!
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regout
Champion Author Quebec

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:10:06 PM

Old news.
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Zonk
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:10:00 PM

The entire project is of questionable quality.
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kzrooster
Champion Author Kalamazoo

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:07:58 PM

It will act as an abrassive, so check the pipes more often!
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rahcat
Champion Author Grand Rapids

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:07:38 PM

This summer Michigan finally opened up the Kalamazoo river for recreational activities.
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ManOfLeisureII
Champion Author Philadelphia

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:05:31 PM

No pain no gain
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12766
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:05:02 PM

OK
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boatfloyd
Champion Author Jacksonville

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:04:44 PM

The sand probably does do harm to the pipes.
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us4usa
Champion Author Missouri

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:03:47 PM

And we know Uncle Sam loves Corn Water...
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Cheney
Champion Author Toronto

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:03:46 PM

naturally a more substantial oil comes from Canada.
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heartbroken2010
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 11:03:46 PM

messy thing.
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:54:31 PM

Gotta agree with @NHLiveFree. It takes more energy to refine the tar sands than what you actually get from the tar sand.

In that respect, it's the "ethanol" of the petroleum family.
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NHLiveFree
Champion Author New Hampshire

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:50:54 PM


Of course it shall cause "known" wear on the lower quality Chinese steel pipes that have all been purchased and stockpiled in the USA for use on these pipelines. The wear factor is definitely not an "unknown" as falsely stated in this paid shill publication of the Oil Industry.

It is absolutely senseless to use a process that usees more energy in the natural gas burned to melt the tar sands bitumen into a coarse and caustic low quaility crude oil for transfer by absurdly long pipelines to remote refineries.
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A2J
Champion Author Richmond

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:44:11 PM

CANADA should pay
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Agarre
Champion Author Richmond

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:40:21 PM

hmm
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bigdipperMS
Champion Author Mississippi

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:35:34 PM

Just as a common sense approach it would appear to me a spill of the Canadas tar sand would cause little environmental problem due to the nature of the crude. It has a very high viscosity and would stack up on the ground rather than dissolving into the ground. The sand in the crude would almost surely cause a faster loss of pipeline thickness over time due to erosion.
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abcdMA
Champion Author Worcester

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:31:58 PM

the risk reward balance
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:31:18 PM

Only the "lefties", @gsayeg1?

Does that mean the oil companies have your permission to put a pipeline behind your house?
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:29:52 PM

@OGW, at least when there's an ethanol spill the worst that happens to the environment is that some animals get a little drunk.
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gsayeg1
Champion Author Milwaukee

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:29:08 PM

watch those lefties jump on this one
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:28:26 PM

No, @CityCouponer. This is why we should just leave the tar sands alone.

Take mass transit more often and the oil we have will last a lot longer.
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Aviator_Rob
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:27:01 PM

No need for scare tactics from the environmentalists, @DEG.

The truth is scary enough. Enbridge themselves admit that even a brand new pipeline will have a spill around once every 10 years.

Fantastic.
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CityCouponer
Champion Author New Orleans

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:25:11 PM

~ This is why we should all walk to work.
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Blue48
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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:24:35 PM

NOT GOOD!
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mstearno
Champion Author Dayton

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:24:30 PM

oh the horror
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nj2000ng
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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:22:08 PM

ok
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herbiepopnecker
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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:21:27 PM

They're probably trying to discourage investment in it to keep $$$ at home.
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wayoung56
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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:20:31 PM

Maybe they need to process the stuff closer to the source...
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OGW
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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:19:47 PM

Why would they worry about tar sands oil when the US transports ethanol daily which is the most corrosive fuel one can transport. It eats the seals out of pipelines if piped causes corrosion in tankers.
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Tekkersmom57
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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:16:03 PM

Great point, sillywagon!
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FlogNut
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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:14:53 PM

Why does it seem like the articles from OilPrice.com seem to be against the oil industry? Just asking.......
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whaboush
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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:14:10 PM

Ugly
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suzmar
Champion Author Texas

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:14:05 PM

The articles from oil price.com always seem very biased.
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txkrb
Champion Author Texas

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:12:25 PM

I am almost certain the sand is removed before it is shipped in the pipeline
How would the refinery deal with the sand which is not in other oil they refine
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itsjustme719
Champion Author Hamilton

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:10:09 PM

We should be keeping this oil in Canada to help reduce our own fuel costs. We're paying much more than $4/gallon!
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CocoPaz
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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:07:18 PM

And I wonder why I can't sleep at night...
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knot2swift
Champion Author Calgary

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:07:01 PM

This is just too stupid.

Maybe we in Canada will have to send it to China to be "Luandered Properly".ROFLMAO.
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Shakleelady31
All-Star Author Fort Wayne

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Message Posted: Aug 21, 2012 10:05:50 PM

Interesting.
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