Alberta Oil Sands Pioneer Says Environmental Problems Must be a Priority

Former Imperial Oil scientist, Clement Bowman is one of the chemical engineers who helped unlock the commercial potential of Canada's oil sands and he's now saying that the Canadian government must urgently take the necessary steps to clean up the huge environmental impacts of the oil sands projects.

Unless they're solved, a number of us feel the oil sands have almost hit a wall,” says Brown.

The Canadian Oil Sands projects, located mainly in the Northern region of the province of Alberta, have major negative impacts on the environment, including:

  • Oil Sands operations could eventually cover 149,000 square kilometers of pristine forest - that's an area roughly the size of Florida.
  • Each day the oil sands use 600 million cubic feet of natural gas to, in effect, melt the tarry sludge into a usable form - that's enough natural gas to heat more than 3 million Canadian homes.
  • Producing a barrel of oil from the tar sands produces three times more greenhouse gas than a barrel of conventional oil.
  • Oil sands operations use about the same amount of freshwater in a year that the entire City of Calgary uses (population 1 million) - 90% of this freshwater ends up in toxic tailing ponds.
  • Toxic tailing ponds already cover more than 50 square kilometers and are considered to be one of largest man-made structures in the world.

This all coming at the same time that the Alberta Government has launched a $25 million PR offensive to dispel the “myths” surrounding the environmental impacts the Alberta Oil Sands are having on our planet.