Letters to the Editor

More on those tar sands, and an erratum

Jul 11, 2012 at 12:00 am

Spill, Baby, Spill

Curt Guyette's well-done article on the tar sand spill two years ago near Kalamazoo ("Crude awakening," June 27) is only the middle part of the tar sand catastrophe. The Alberta tar sand deposits are considered the second largest in the world next to Saudi Arabia. The deposits underlay an area of the Canadian boreal forest the size of Florida. But it takes huge amounts of energy and water to extract what is considered the dirtiest oil in the world. Because it takes three to four times the greenhouse gas emissions to extract compared to regular oil, Dr. James Hansen, our nation's top climate expert, said that if we continue on this path it's "game over" for the climate. We will have passed the point of no return. Besides, the First Nations people living downstream are experiencing severe health impacts as a result of the massive air and water pollution. But so will people in the proximity of the Marathon oil refinery located in southwest Detroit. The $2 billion-dollar expansion of that refinery is to accommodate more tar sand oil. The result will be more air and water pollution here too. Marathon officials admitted that 20 percent of their output was from the tar sands even before starting the expansion. 

So, what can we do to save ourselves? We need to starve the beast by reducing our dependence on oil with more efficient or electric cars, change our driving habits by slowing down, use public transit and get all those trucks off the road and onto more efficient trains. But we don't seem to want to do any of these things. More "drill, baby, drill" results in more "spill, baby, spill." —Ed McArdle, Melvindale


Errata: Several photo credits were inadvertently omitted from the July 4-10 issue. They are as follows: Boy Wonders by Veronica Revis, Mayaeini by Andres Reynaga, Rise Against Me by Evan Hunt, Hounds Below by Chris Owyoung, El-P by Timothy Saccenti. Those that appear at metrotimes.com include photographer credits. There.