Pumping in Dirty Oil From Canada’s Tar Sands

U.S. Department of State


Today, the State Department announced that it has okayed a new oil pipeline between Canada and the United States. A press release hails the decision to break ground on the Alberta Clipper Pipeline for sending “a positive economic signal, in a difficult economic period, about the future reliability and availability of a portion of United States’ energy imports” and for providing “shovel-ready” jobs. What it doesn’t mention is that the pipeline between Alberta and Wisconsin will be pumping oil from Canada’s tar sands—some of the world’s dirtiest petroleum. As Mother Jones‘ Josh Harkinson reported in a gripping first-hand dispatch from the “Tar Wars,” Canada’s oil boom is exacting a heavy toll on the rural areas surrounding the massive pits that comprise the largest industrial zone in the world. For every barrel of oil produced from the tar sands, another two of toxic waste are left behind. Indigenous Albertans worry that their water and wild game have been dangerously contaminated. And that’s not all: Squeezing oil from tar sands emits 151 percent more greenhouse gases than the production of conventional oil (including 80 percent more CO2). The official justification for the new pipeline echoes the Bush administration’s policy, which put “energy independence” ahead of environmental considerations. Yet the State Department insists that the US is still committed to taking “ambitious action to address climate change” and getting Canada to follow suit. Sounds like a pipe dream.

 

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.