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Effects of the Alberta Tar Sands Development on the Environment

The larger environmental impact of the oil sands is the use of cyclical steam stimulation to remove the in situ bitumen deep within the earth’s surface. This process has a negative effect on the ecosystem in general especially within the tailing ponds.
The research will look into the primary environmental effects of what the bitumen extraction has as well including what the major oil production companies are doing to alleviate this problem and not add further to the shaky ecosystem occurring in the oil sands production areas. The research will look into the efforts of Suncor Energy, Petro Canada, Husky Energy, Imperial Oil, Nexen, EnCana, Shell Canada, Syncrude Canada and Talisman Energy.
Jackson (2004) writes that the problem with using ground water for steam extraction belies the problem that "the release of such chemicals to the subsurface and the subsequent contamination of groundwater was not appreciated until the late 1970s when their widespread presence was finally recognized. The lack of a technical paradigm explaining the processes of contamination and the potential adverse health effects prevented the anticipation of this problem" (Jackson, 2004).
To further look at how environmental contaminants caused th…
As of writing, the Kyoto protocol was signed by Canada which is designed to be "a treaty that imposes constraints on how much climate-changing ‘greenhouse gas’ – in particular, carbon dioxide – a signatory can emit. Since Alberta is a huge emitter of greenhouse gases, and the production of oil from tar sands is particularly carbon-intensive, it will make meeting the treaty’s targets a lot harder" (Hess, 2006).
Annotated Bibliography:
Through both primary and secondary sources can the fulfilment of this thesis statement can be obtained. The primary sources include both environmental journals and published academic papers as a directive of this thesis, as well as including secondary sources from historical data and company records respecting this environmental challenge. An effort will also be made to contact the major oil companies through their media relations department to discuss the companies’ environmental record to further enhance the topic statement.
Sherrington, Mark. (2005). "Biodiversity Assessment in the Oil Sands region, northeastern Alberta, Canada.
Sherrington’s paper discusses the large numbers of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) that have been completed for approximately twenty oil sands projects over the past two decades. The EIA process in the oil sands has been unique with respect to the impact of the ecological health in relation to the overall goals to maintain biodiversity in the region.
This impact addresses issues regarding vegetation, soil and landforms, watershed integrity and biodiversity through the landscape and biodiversity subgroup within the Sustainable Ecosystems Working Group (SEWG). The goal of the SEWG is to "sustain the natural