Journalist Dan Grossman and photographer Alex MacLean are in the middle of their week long tour of the Alberta oilsands. Their on-the-scene reporting is meant to bring greater public attention to the scale – and the stakes – of developing oil from the world’s largest deposit of carbon-intensive bitumen.
As Grossman puts it on the Pulitzer Center website, “We know the ground beneath Alberta’s boreal forest—saturated with an estimated 150 billion barrels of oil—rivals all other troves of oil apart from those of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. We know Alberta’s rich deposits underlie a territory of 54,000 square miles, as large as Iowa. But we can barely comprehend numbers this big. Alex will help us. He’ll show us waste ponds nearly the size of Manhattan and dump trucks that could swallow a McMansion whole.”
Grossman has been tweeting about his experience in the oilsands region prolifically since April 4th. Below you can see some of the duo’s photojournalist coverage of their trip so far.
Firms prospect before extracting. They cut corridors–seismic lines–and set off explosions. Detrimental to wildlife. pic.twitter.com/YUbi2jrFLt— Daniel Grossman (@grossmanmedia) April 7, 2014
Shooting video with GoPro. Tried yesterday but battery problems! Multimedia journos have too much equipment to track! pic.twitter.com/znMem8c0li— Daniel Grossman (@grossmanmedia) April 7, 2014
At same latitude as Hudson's Bay, middle of boreal forest. But this one Syncrude site, is industrialized as anywhere. pic.twitter.com/Chfsww4IzA— Daniel Grossman (@grossmanmedia) April 7, 2014
Follow Dan Grossman on twitter: @GrossmanMedia
* Updated April 16, 2014: Journalist Dan Grossman and photographer Alex MacLean have removed one photo that was initially thought to show unrecovered oil from seepage on a CNRL site. CNRL officials insist the black substance in the photo is water mixed with soil, not oil. Since the photo was posted, the company has expressed greater willingness to allow journalists to inspect the site.
Grossman told DeSmog Canada that he's pleased CNRL is showing greater openness about the site, which local journalists had been asking, unsuccessfully, to visit. “By excluding journalists from the site, CNRL was making it hard to know what was going on and whether company pronouncements were correct,” he said.