Energy is ugly: Tar Sands Make their Mark

April 12, 2011 | 00:00

Energy is ugly: Tar Sands Make their Mark

A startling account of how, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and turmoil in the Muslim world, the United States is mapping out an energy security strategy that emphasizes one of the dirtiest and most dangerous energy sources around -- Ellen Cantarow, “Energy is Ugly: Tar Sands Make Their Mark”.

“Energy kills plants, plankton, and people,” writes Cantarow, a Middle East reporter whose work on political and environmental disasters in that region has led her to explore the dark secrets of Big Oil.  “It imperils the environment, poisons the oceans, and is threatening to turn part of Japan, one of the most advanced nations on the planet, into a contaminated zone for decades to come.”  But there’s another potential disaster brewing, one that could poison America’s heartland for who knows how long.

From a pristine homestead in East Texas to the Kellogg’s Corn Flake factory in Battle Creek, Michigan, Cantarow takes us to the front lines of America’s energy wars and examines tar sands oil -- what it is, what it does and why every one of us should be more than a little worried about it. 

Just imagine a big corporation, which cares more about profits than safety, taking a toxic, acid-ridden tar and forcing it into a pipe.  Then imagine that corporation cranking up heat and pressure to get that tar to move.  Then imagine that pipe running through a 174,000-square mile aquifer that “provides 30% of the nation’s irrigation for agriculture, as well as drinking water for 82% of the people within its vast boundaries.”  (And don’t even get me started about the area being prone to earthquakes!)  I bet you know where this is going.  This nightmare scenario is already in the works and Cantarow lays it out in richly written and thoroughly disturbing detail.   

Energy is ugly.  Last year’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and this year’s nuclear disaster in Japan have made it abundantly and undeniably clear.  But what’s being touted as a part of the energy solution is just another problem and one that needs attention before another catastrophe ensues.

To read the article, click here: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175376

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