Monday, November 13, 2006

More Oil than Water

Fort McMurray, the town of tar, black gold, and a beautiful meandering Athabasca river. The oil in the sands naturally gives the river water in some pools a rainbow sheen. Scary that.

The above pictures are of the same general area, around the tar sands outside Fort McMurray. You can guess which photo is predevelopment. The projects are incredible, they don't go deep, they go wide. But heck, the area is huge. The problem is energy.

The planned projects taken together will use more water in the river than actually exists. But as these plans are still being developed, well, it's first man built wins. One feels bad for the guys who built earlier downriver; then again, they're already reeling in the cash, and got in when there was no labour crisis.

Dion was on top of the issue that matters most when he went to Ft McMurray today. The place needs energy to function, to work... to fund the government. Things are happening so fast, or slow if you don't consider what's at stake, and the sums being spent are enormous; a half billion dollars on R&D, per project.

Jeffrey Simpson MUST be on his payroll.

Besides being a subtle supporter of Dion, he wrote a series of articles presenting the situation of anarchy in northern Alberta and the challenges faced.

You can read the articles here:

Neutralizing the oil sands' carbon emissions
Mighty sources of energy, mighty big threats
Oil sands vision, red herrings and a sea of platitudes
Fort McMurray gives new meaning to 'boom town'

Like Dryden says of guns, nuclear power scares me. It probably scares me less in Dion's hands if he keeps his word on being able to look voters in the eye when he says "I have a plan for the nuclear waste". Importantly, the alternatives to provide the power are just as dirty, if not more, and guarantee some degree of environmental disaster.

The tar sands are a reality, the world demands the oil. Canada must shine in our development of them. Good for Dion for highlighting this.

(Stephane, don't forget to send Jeff some new glasses for Christmas)