- The Tar sands are the second largest oil reserve in the world.
Alberta’s crude bitumen oil reserves total 170.4 billion barrels, second in the world only to Saudi Arabia which is 264.2 billion barrels.
- The Tar Sands will destroy or degrade an area the size of England.
Tar Sands underlie 140,200 square kilometres. England is 130,410 square kilometres. While only a portion has currently been disturbed, the entire area is vulnerable to Tar Sands expansion.
- The Tar Sands will threaten millions of migratory birds and other wildlife.
“Combining the various estimates of the loss of birds from mining and in situ operations, this report projects a cumulative impact over the next 30 to 50 years ranging from a low of about 6 million birds lost to as high as 166 million birds lost.”
- The Tar Sands consume up to four barrels of water to produce one barrel of oil.
Approximately 12 barrels of water are required to produce each barrel of oil from bitumen. Up to 70 percent of this water is reused, but that still means two to four barrels of water are used to produce each barrel of oil from oil sands mining operations.
- The toxic lakes cover an area of 170 square kilometers.
- It’s estimated that tailings lakes leak up to 11 million litres of contaminated water every day.
- Downstream native communities suffer from rare cancers linked to the same toxic compounds found in the tar sands.
The Alberta Health Services report on the incidence of cancer in Fort Chipewyan there was a 30% increase in cancers over the last 12 years. Leukemias and lymphomas were increased by 3-fold. Bile duct cancers were increased by 7-fold. Other cancers, such as soft tissue sarcomas, and lung cancers in women, were also elevated.
- The Tar Sands are the largest contributor to the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
The Tar Sands are expected to rise from 4% of national emissions in 2006 to 12% in 2020, and account for 44% of the total increase. This makes them the largest contributor to growth in Canada’s GHG emissions.